Hooks' fantastic five hoping for national glory
PUBLISHED: 15:18 16 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 16 March 2017
Park Royal club celebrate more London titles
Hooks ABC coach Steve Newland is targetting more national titles, with five of his London champions in quarter-final action at Bletchley on Sunday.
The Park Royal club had a great weekend at the London Junior ABA Championships at Feltham last month, with Jon O’Donnell, Dylan McDonagh, Patris Mughalzai, Patrick Connors and Tidy O’Donnell all coming out on top.
And Newland is hoping they can maintain that form this weekend, saying: “It was a great weekend’s boxing, with fantastic performances from all of the lads.
“Jon O’Donnell’s two wins were exceptional, both in quality of boxing and in terms of sheer determination, including defeating a reigning national champion.
“Having five London champions is a real honour, but it’s back to hard work with the aim to win more national titles.”
The 14-year-old Jon O’Donnell gave a classy display of southpaw punch-picking to outpoint Fairbairn’s Hamza Namajee in their 36kg semi-final, before overcoming defending champion Nelson Smith, of Repton, in the final in one of the best bouts of the championships.
An all-action, two-handed attack from O’Donnell knocked the much taller Smith out of his stride in the first round, although the Repton youngster’s effective boxing brought him back into contention in the second.
O’Donnell’s persistence and workrate saw him win a tight, but much deserved title, while 14-year-old McDonagh beat Reggie O’Reilly of Dartford’s Nemesis club with a smooth display in their 48kg semi-final, before effectively outpointing Repton’s Ryan Williams in the final to land his title.
Jonathan O’Donnell (63kg) and fellow 16-year-old Liam McDonagh (60kg) both put up gutsy losing performances against formidable Repton opponents Michael Burke and Jack Oliphant, who are both reigning national champions and, in Oliphant’s case, a European champion.
But Mughalzai, 14, produced three controlled rounds of boxing to beat Fairbairn’s Umer Khan in the 54kg final for London honours and his fellow England international Connors claimed the 44kg crown.
Connors beat Repton’s George Barker, nephew of former world middleweight champion Darren, in his semi-final, before defeating Sean Coombs (Bermondsey) in the final at Tottenham a week later.
Completing the fantastic five for Hooks is defending national champion and European bronze medalist Tidy O’Donnell, 14, who was crowned London champion by way of a walkover in the 46kg category.