Category Archives: Amateur News

Golden Girls enjoy a Golden Tournament


The Tyne, Tees & Wear ‘Golden Girls’ returned from Boras, Sweden this February having enjoyed an extremely successful tournament at the annual Golden Girl Box Cup.

Led by coaches Laura Sargeant (East Middlesbrough), Caroline Dent (East Durham) and Tracey Jefferson (North Star) the sixteen strong squad certainly didn’t go with the intention of making up the numbers.

Not only did they create history taking a squad to Sweden, they won the ‘Best Team’ award out of 22 participating countries, an accolade which added to the pride shown by Head Coach, Laura Sargeant.

She said: “From our monthly regional squad we asked the girls as to who would like to take part in the Golden Girl Cup in Boras, Sweden, so that everyone had the chance to go if they wished.

“Regardless of their age or ability sixteen girls came forward and since then we had been fundraising and had help through some of the girls’ sponsors as well as our regional executive committee to help pay for the trip.

“It’s the first time ever that the TTW’s have had an all-female team, including coaches, box internationally for the region so we were making a little bit of history with the ‘TTW Golden Girls.’

“With 254 boxers from 22 countries in the largest female tournament, we won ‘Best Team,’ storming the leader board with 19 points with the closest behind us being Bk Ringen with 11 points.

“Everything was absolutely incredible and the officials put countless hours in to help make it a success and all the girls performed absolutely outstandingly, their behaviour and attitude was impeccable and I couldn’t be any prouder of them all, we absolutely smashed it!”

Of the sixteen girls who travelled for the Box Cup, eleven returned with medals as Shauna-Leigh Taylor (East Durham), Savannah Stubley (Empire), Danielle Marshall (Hartlepool Catholic), Natalia Johnstone (Birtley) and Sophie Haw (East Middlesbrough) claimed gold, whilst Zara Johnson (East Middlesbrough), Macy Kilkenny (East Middlesbrough), Ellie Wilson (Leam Lane), Alicia Parkes (Houghton & District), Gina Page (North Star) and Bobbi Bowman (Houghton & District) added silver.


Houghton’s Josh Kelly achieves Olympic dream


Although losing in the semis Houghton boxer, 22-year-old Josh Kelly, has achieved his dream of qualifying for the Olympic Games courtesy of his quarter final success over Aaron Prince in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The victory, Josh’s third of the World Olympic Qualifying tournament, asserts his place as the UK’s number one welterweight and he will join fellow north-east fighter, Birtley’s Pat McCormack, on the plane to Rio in August.

It is not only a success for him. Throughout his amateur career on Wearside Josh has had the support of former professional boxer and Sunderland’s only other Olympian, Tony Jeffries.

Tony represented Sunderland at the Beijing Games in 2008 winning bronze, for the Kelly family they have nothing but praise for the support he has given the Olympic qualifier.

“To be only the second Olympian from Sunderland is an understatement,” began Josh.

“Tony, like my parents and coaches, have supported me all the way and I owe them all this. It’s not sunk in yet though, it’ll take a while before it odes but I’m here to enjoy myself and that’s what I’m doing.”



In his run through the qualifying tournament Josh has taken care of experienced, talented opposition in Iraqi fighter Amin Ghasemi Pour, Estonian Kaupo Aurro and finally, Trinidad’s Aaron Prince.

“It’s bittersweet really and I’ve dealt with things others won’t have,” continued Josh.

“I’ve had many ups and downs, injuries and what have you but the past few months it’s been great. I’ve come out here and faced some decent opposition as well; old school fighters with experience, I mean the Iranian appeared at the 2012 Olympics.”

His father Paul, and those connected to Houghton Boxing Club, it’s a dream, once-in-a-lifetime success, that they hope will rub off on others.

Paul added: “He’s won three fights and not dropped a round so we know his profile is going to be sky high now, and deservedly so.

“It’s encouraging also for the kids coming through when they see people like Josh, and Pat, doing this. They know that it’s possible, and that they can dream. Yes, it’s a lot harder to qualify now, but it’s certainly achievable.”

Josh, from Houghton Boxing Club, becomes the final boxing qualifier for Rio 2016 joining Pat McCormack, Savannah Marshall, Nicola Adams, Galal Yafai, Muhammad Ali, Qais Ashfaq, Joe Cordina, Anthony Fowler, Joshua Buatsi, Lawrence Okolie and Joe Joyce.


The Hardman of Brandon takes Lambton Charity show rematch



Brandon Boxing Club sends Peter Hardman into the lion’s den on Saturday night when they travel to the Stadium of Light for a rematch with Lambton Street’s latest addition, Rafal Benka.

The duo, both in their early twenties, met last year when Benka was part of the Houghton & District amateur set-up and, in a way, Hardman was still finding his feet with fledgling club, Brandon. Now, both fighters with near identical records in the amateur game, clash again on a mainstream charity show in aid of Lambton Street’s Youth Centre.

For Peter it is a chance to avenge that earlier defeat and carry on the unbeaten spell he has had of late whilst continuing to reinforce the trust and belief his coaches in Brandon, Alex Oliver and Simon Patterson, have shown in him.

“I was already buzzing for this with it being a rematch, finally finding out where it was, and my being a Sunderland fan, made it even better,” began Peter.

“I’ve come into this year unbeaten having narrowly lost to him (Benka) last year (when he with Houghton. I’ve been in non-stop training this year, had no blowouts and feel ten times better now because of it. It’s because of that I will aim to finish this season undefeated (with two bouts upcoming including this).”

Perhaps surprisingly the County Durham amateur club only been going three years, and have achieved so much in such a short time. It is a period for which people like Hardman, a home-grown star in the making, appreciates what has occurred saying: “It’s a real, genuine situation we have going on here.

“Alex and Simon are class coaches and are a credit to the sport. The support we have received though has been real and, until the gym opened, I never thought there would be opportunities like this me; they’ve probably saved me and kept me off the streets.”

At a couple of years his junior Lambton Street’s Rafal Benka has been at the Sunderland-based amateur club since December last year, making the move with the aim of having more outings. It is a move he is pleased he made after it was recommended to him to do so.

“This fight is not going to be easy and yes, people might improve themselves over time,” said Benka of his impending rematch with Hardman.

“I really believe that he is better than he was last time but it’s what’s in the head that counts and I’m going into the fight to win. Moving to a new club though, that’s always going to be difficult, getting on with new people and the like, but things have gone well for me, I’ve settled in and I feel ready and prepared for Saturday night.”

The Charity Dinner show will see funds raised from ticket sales and an impressive auction will go to the Lambton Street Youth Club for the event that is strictly a ticket only occasion and will see the clubs junior and amateur stars take centre stage.

Recent offerings by the club have received delayed broadcast by local television station, Made in Tyne & Wear and this will be afforded the same coverage as they continue to bring amateur boxing to terrestrial television for the first time since the eighties.

There is a strict dress code for the event which sees eight amateur battles, a three course meal, charity auction and the chance to listen to Wearside fight legend, Billy Hardy, talk about his illustrious career in the ring.

The dress code sees a strict shirt and tie policy for gentlemen and evening, cocktail or formal dresses for ladies; there are twenty tables available in either 10 or 12 seats at a cost of £55 per head, £550 (table of 10) and £660 (table of 12) respectively and the organisers have set aside three tables that can be split into lower numbers to accommodate everyone’s needs. Tickets are available via emailing, visiting or calling the ticket hotline on 07541 667 679.


Lambton Ladies continue to Roar


Katrina Brown and the Lambton Street Ladies are continuing their roaring and prowling on the regions fight scene as they prepare young Gina Jefferson for the chance to shine at the Stadium of Light this weekend.

Their stock has risen exponentially over the past twelve months and, with Gina leading the way you can see why the Sunderland-based club is in such a healthy position. For Katrina and her fellow coaches, it is a position worth being in and can only bode well for the future.

She has seen first-hand the progression of Lambton’s Lasses and, with Gina appearing again at the Stadium of Light; she is being ably pursued by Abbie Hillam and Josie King, a trio of diamonds.

“We do have some truly amazing girls here (at Lambton Street),” said Katrina, herself a Level Two Boxing Coach.

“That’s the good thing about Lambton Street in that we can afford concentration on the girls and they are starting to come to us more because we are female orientated and it’s encouraging for me that they are doing this.” 


Simone Clark (presently on sabbatical), Lisa Freeman and Lee Fairweather deserve continuing credit for their work with the girls as Leicester, Ayr and Stranraer are on the stop list in the foreseeable future – even nine-year-old Krystell, Katrina’s daughter, is getting in on the act.

“She’s getting a great instinct for the sport and loves being around it all,” added Katrina about her daughters’ involvement.

“Gina though is showing amazing potential and is really coachable. She has unreal strength in her and great technique, taking everything on board that we throw at her and is really listening to what we say.

“There’s a really good group of girls now in the gym and I’ve got a great feeling about it all.”

The Charity Dinner show will see funds raised from ticket sales and an impressive auction will go to the Lambton Street Youth Club for the event that is strictly a ticket only occasion and will see the clubs junior and amateur stars take centre stage.

There is a strict dress code for the event which sees eight amateur battles, a three course meal, charity auction and the chance to listen to Wearside fight legend, Billy Hardy, talk about his illustrious career in the ring.

The dress code sees a strict shirt and tie policy for gentlemen and evening, cocktail or formal dresses for ladies and tickets are available via emailing, visiting or calling the ticket hotline on 07541 667 679.





Amateur Club offer for Collision Course


Having been successful trialled at the Matchroom Fight Pass ‘Rising Stars’ show at the Gateshead Leisure centre last year, Steve Wraith, now under Pro Boxing Newcastle Gateshead auspices, is offering amateur clubs in the region the same half-price ticket offer for his show at Dunston’s Lancastrian Suite on March 18.

The show sees Daniel Cope (Hartlepool) and Jeff Saunders (Sedgefield) co-headlining  as both look to move into title contention later this year. They will be joined on the show by English title challenger, Lee Mould, who fights for a Northern Area title on our May show in Darlington.

For Steve it is an opportunity to re-ignite that passion shown last year and, with the signing of amateur Anth Ornsby to the PBNG team, timing is everything.

“We felt that, the last time we had the offer on, it worked brilliantly and reinforced the connection between the professional and amateur scene,” began Steve.

“I’d like to reinforce that again, for this show on March 18 , we would offer half price tickets to the show for the amateur clubs in the area. The offer being presented is open to any boxing club with 20 tickets per club (maximum of 200 combined) at £17.50 per ticket and will see each club receive half of each ticket  sale they receive go back into the club.

“We feel that doing something like this encourages the younger generations to come and experience first hand what a professional show is like.”

Any amateur club interested in taking up the offer should email the Head of Media, Peter Mann, on stating ‘Amateur Ticket Offer’ in the subject header.

The Grosvenor Casino sponsored Collision Course, co-headlined by Daniel Cope and Jeff Saunders, takes place at the Lancastrian Suite, Dunston on March 18.

Upcoming Tyneside star, Ornsby, making waves in the amateurs


Wallsend ABC amateur, Anth Ornsby, has a big year ahead of him and his win, over Whitby fighter Callum Haley, it was another opportunity to showcase what coaches Darren and Lewis have instilled over the past two years and he’s taking it all well in his stride.

After he defeating Haley on the Darlington show last week Ornsby told PBNG: “He (Haley) is a good fighter, a bit rangy as well but I enjoyed getting the win even if I was feeling drained.”



“I’m wanting to get as much as experience as I can in this year and, with Darren and Lewis, I’ve got two really good coaches, good friends who are helping me a lot. They’ll be looking to get me some tough, challenging fights and although I’ve won four and lost four I can’t wait to get back out there and show what I can do, especially as this was my first unanimous decision win.”

Ornsby is appearing again tonight (Thursday February 4) as he looks to get as many appearances in as possible this year with the short-term aim being an appearance at the Stadium of Light on the upcoming Lambton Street Charity Dinner show next month (March 5).