Adam Haniver hopes Friday night fights are here to stay in Eastbourne after a thrilling showcase of amateur boxing at Atlantis nightclub.
A total of 24 fighters from across the south took to the ring last Friday on an evening where fighting heart was in abundance, and while the town’s boxers failed to register a victory, the tenacity of Eastbourne’s fighters was undeniable.
It certainly bodes well for the town’s boxing future and with 300 fans packing into the venue on the pier, Haniver is keen to organise more shows in the coming months.
He said, “The aim is to do three shows a year. The crowd seemed very engaged and the feedback I’ve had from all the coaches was very good.
“There were no stoppages either so all the fighters were well matched.
“The spectators were happy, the coaches were happy, so all in all it was a great success.”
Of the home boxers, Ryan Conaghan embodied the town’s fighting heart.
The plucky Hailsham flyweight may have suffered a fourth successive defeat against the Isle of Thanet’s vastly more experienced Blessed Sithol, but it was certainly not for lack of trying.
Conaghan marched forward relentlessly, ploughing through Sithol’s accurate shots with unwavering bravery.
Courageous to the last, Conaghan even launched an exhilarating final-round onslaught in an attempt to claim an unlikely victory, sending the crowd into raptures.
While these efforts proved futile, the respect he earned was universal.
“He’s got the biggest heart I’ve seen on an amateur novice boxer,” said Haniver afterwards.
“He may not be a natural fighter, but he’s got that courage you just can’t teach.
“Even people who didn’t know him were cheering his name.
“I’m really proud of him; he does everything right in training and I know that he’ll get that win soon.”
Conaghan’s bravery was matched by those of teammates Takaki Yamagisi and Connor Stuart.
Yamigisi lost by a single point against Portsmouth University’s much taller Josh Baldwin, while Stuart, in his first bout for 18 months, put on a brave show against Colchester’s Rueben Gahan.
Willingdon Trees’ Harry Coleman was also aggressive in his defeat against classy Waltham Forest fighter Adylle Allen.
Full results: McDonagh (Golden Ring) beat Mizon (Crawley); King (Marvels Lane) beat Sprangle (Mayflower); Castle (Littlehampton) beat Harris (Hillcrest); Simes (Hastings) beat Perry (Colchester); Allen (Waltham Forest) beat Coleman (Willingdon); Holland (Golden Ring) beat Beddingfield (Isle of Thanet); Baldwin (Portsmouth Uni) beat Yamagisi (Hailsham & Lewes); Watson (Golden Ring) beat Hart (Mayflower); Sithol (Isle of Thanet) beat Conaghan (Hailsham & Lewes); Cooper (Golden Ring) beat Adaway (Mayflower); Gahan (Colchester) beat Stuart (Hailsham & Lewes); Pringle (Horsham) beat Kear (Crawley)