Leahy shows plenty of heart to win national title

Fitzpatrick's boxer Nick Leahy in action in his final against Aaron Prospere.
Fitzpatrick's boxer Nick Leahy in action in his final against Aaron Prospere.

Fitzpatrick’s boxer Nick Leahy did it “the hard way” to claim his first senior national title, according to coach Derek Fitzpatrick.

Leahy beat former English Boxing Alliance champion Aaron Prospere (Heart of Portsmouth) to claim the Senior Development Championships at 64kg at the North Solihull Sports Centre on Sunday.

It capped a gruelling run for the teenager, who started out in the Midlands round in early October and had to travel the length and breadth of the country as he moved through the rounds.

“What an achievement for this young man,” said Fitzpatrick. “Seven fights in six weeks, boxing in every round of the competition and beating four other region’s champions in the process.

“Nick has done it the hard way and we are all very proud of him.”

The fight and occasion brought a new energy and focus to Leahy who was in determined mood from the outset.

He seized the initiative in a strong opening round, forcing the Heart of Portsmouth boxer on to the back foot.

Prospere tried to push forward in the second round but the Fitzpatrick’s man repelled him with some stinging shots and with the title in his sights, finished strongly in the final round to claim a split decision from the judges.

“It was my hand that was raised in the ring but this is no individual sport,” said Leahy.

“It’s a massive team effort and I’d like to thank my coaches Derek Fitzpatrick, Babs Kandola and Tommy Pender.

“This win is ours and Fitzpatrick’s Gym’s.”

There was to be no second title for the gym, however, with Leah Gunton losing out to Mayflower ABC’s Amelia Jarvis in her 50kg final on Saturday.

In her first competitive bout, Gunton was stopped in the second round after a flurry of shots from the highly rated Portsmouth boxer.

However, despite the loss, Kandola said Gunton could be proud of her performance.

“Leah gave us her all today,” he said. “And we are as proud of her as we are of Nick.

“Leah went in smiling, fought her heart out and came out smiling. Her time will come.”

There was more disappointment for local boxers when Royal Leamington Spa ABC’s Mario Piwowar lost out on in a split decision to Evolve’s Jamie Smith in the 91kg final.

Coach Ollie O’Neill said Piwowar can count himself unfortunate, with little to choose between the two men.

“He caught him in the last round with a good shot and I thought he was going to put him away,” said O’Neill of Piwowar.

“He knows he can box better but we looked at it back and thought he had won every round.

“He trained hard enough. It’s just one of those things. We could do with a little bit of luck at the moment.”