World champion Carl Froch gave the thumbs up to a small selection of the town’s fighters after casting his eye over them at the local boxing season’s finale at the Felbridge Hotel in East Grinstead.
A whole host of boxers were in action last Friday in an extravagant show put together by Hailsham ABC’s Lee Greenwood, with WBC Super-Middleweight champion Froch coming along as the guest of honour.
Froch, nicknamed ‘The Cobra’, thought that Eastbourne’s boys had plenty of venom.
He said, “It’s been a great show, incredibly well organised and the standard of boxing has actually been excellent, a lot better than I expected.
“Amateur boxing has always gone through peaks and troughs, but now the sport has got sufficient funding to bring it into line with the rest of Europe.
“There’s a decent infrastructure in place and every young fighter has that aim of getting into Team GB.
“On tonight’s evidence, one or two of the boys I’ve seen have the talent and the heart to go all the way.”
James Baurer is certainly one prospect Froch may have been referring to, as the Willingdon Trees’ cruiserweight battled to a tremendous victory over Hornchurch’s Sam Delaney in the final bout of the evening.
Baurer, 20, was battered in the opening round by the powerfully-built Delaney, and it looked like being a long night for the home favourite.
However, Baurer is renowned on the local circuit for his fitness, and came out firing in the second round to repeatedly walk down his opponent and suffocate the life out of him through a combination of pressure and combination punching.
While Delaney was still catching Baurer with single shots, the Willingdon fighter was always the aggressor and his high work rate eventually exhausted the Hornchurch man and allowed Baurer to record the win by unanimous decision.
Baurer’s stablemate Joe McCann was also involved in a real barnstormer with South Norwood’s Sid Tong.
McCann, the smaller man, repeatedly got underneath Tong’s rangy jab and couldn’t miss with his lightning-fast overhand right.
The classy McCann even put Tong down in the second round with that very punch, and the Willingdon boxer totally dominated the final round to record a very impressive victory.
Jessie Smith was similarly impressive as he stopped the brave Connor White in only the first round.
Smith, representing Hailsham ABC, was his typically savage self right from the opening bell and tore into Gravesham’s White with hooks and body shots from the word go.
White eventually went down midway through the round after yet another onslaught, and despite getting up and showing some brave resistance the referee stopped the contest soon after the knockdown.
Middleweight Scott Hillman was the first Eastbourne fighter to taste defeat on the night despite a brave showing against South Norwood light-heavyweight Ricky Sinclair.
In a hastily-arranged bout Hillman, an Eastbourne resident but fighting for Whitehawk ABC, was aggressive and solid throughout but never came to terms with Sinclair’s huge reach advantage, with the South Norwood man winning the fight by unanimous decision.
There were also defeats for Hailsham flyweight Ryan Conaghan and Willingdon Trees’ John Durham in an outstanding night’s action that acted as a fitting send-off to the season.
Full Results: Baurer (Willingdon) beat Delaney (Hornchurch), McCann (Willingdon) beat Tong (South Norwood), Frerson (Hornchurch) beat Durham (Willingdon), Hewitt (Whitehawk) beat Conaghan (Hailsham), Sinclair (South Norwood) beat Hillman (Whitehawk), Waites (Hornchurch) beat Basra (Strood), Smith (Hailsham) beat White (Gravesham), Jenkins (Strood) beat Papis (Hornchurch)