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Hooks ABC trio impress despite losing final showdowns

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 April 2016

Hooks ABC's Francie McDonagh (left) and coach Steve Newland

Hooks ABC's Francie McDonagh (left) and coach Steve Newland

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Hooks ABC coach Steve Newland hailed his trio of fighters who were in action at the weekend, despite seeing them all fall to defeat in their respective finals.

Francie McDonagh was involved in the England Boxing Junior National Championships, while Nathan Brown and Obi Egbunike were in action at the London ABA Elite Boxing finals.

McDonagh, competing in the 57kg category, first took on Pinewood ABC’s Jerry Ray in the semi-finals at Birtley Boxing Club on Saturday.

Ray, a two-time national champion, edged the first round, but McDonagh came back strongly to win a close-fought second.

The 16-year-old went all out in the third to seal the encounter with a split decision, and set up a final showdown with Birtley ABC’s Jacob Dickinson a day later.

McDonagh impressed in a close opening round, before catching Dickinson with a couple of jabs in the second as he tired.

The teenager also impressed in the third, seemingly looking to have sealed the bout, yet the judges awarded Dickinson the fight via a unanimous decision.

Newland was bemused with the decision, telling the Times: “I thought Francie had won the fight, I was shocked with the unanimous decision the other way.

“It was a great contest. Jacob’s an excellent young fighter.

“But Francie looked a class act and we felt he had done enough to win the fight.

“I said to him after the first round that he had to do more, as he was good but, with the fight being held in Jacob’s gym, he really had to raise the level of his performance even higher.

“I felt he did that and won the fight, but it’s the judges’ decision that counts at the end of the day and unfortunately it didn’t go our way.”

Elsewhere, flyweight Brown beat Broad St ABC’s Mo Yusef on Thursday night to book his place in the London ABA Elite finals.

The 18-year-old faced Louie Lynn, who is rated as the number two flyweight at this level, in the final at Fairfields Hall, Croydon, a day later.

Brown had an excellent first round, picking his punches to perfection in a faultless display.

Lynn edged the second, while the third was a very close affair with the Hooks man landing the stronger jabs.

However, it wasn’t to be Brown’s night as the judges awarded Lynn the fight by a split decision.

Fresh from winning his first amatuer title at Hayes Working Men’s club, Egbunike was looking to add to that haul with the North West London ABA gong.

The middleweight, competing at 75kg, got the better of Jordan Blake in the semi-final on Thursday night.

However, the 23-year-old was unable to repeat that feat in the final on Friday, losing to Zach Kelly by a unanimous decision.

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