REDDITCH Boxing Academy’s (RBA) Leo Fanthome lost a competitive decision as he stepped up a weight category in pursuit of national title success.
The current Midlands 64kg champion looked to test himself at 69kg before embarking on his England Boxing journey as he took on Worcester ABC fighter Smith at VENUE.
Smith, looking much heavier than Fanthome, came forward looking to land the more telling shots and Fanthome – with plans of his own – landed crisp one-twos before moving out of range of the heavy hitter.
In a competitive opening round Fanthome wobbled his opponent with a close-range left hook, but he failed to capitalise on the success.
Smith, proving to be no pushover, moved forward, throwing hammer after hammer at the head of Fanthome and the round concluded with honours even.
At the start of round two, Fanthome sent his opponent backwards after a solid back-hand, however again failed to capitalise on his achievements.
As the round progressed, Smith gained in confidence from his own accomplishments and continued pressure tactics, trying to trap Fanthome in the corners or against the ropes.
Both fighters put in an excellent demonstration of open class boxing and the second round also ended with honours even.
Believing Fanthome was not performing to his best, RBA head coach Sarah Lee gave her prodigy some sound tactical advice and, emerging for round three, Fanthome demonstrated superior skill and ring craft, but the telling blows at the higher weight division were taking their toll.
Fanthome, renowned for his fitness levels and determination, could not live up to his own standards on this occasion, despite battling to the end.
Smith’s arm was raised in victory, however the bout caused much discussion with those who thought it could have gone the other way.
On being interviewed afterwards, Fanthome refused to make excuses for his performance, instead congratulating Smith whilst apologising to and thanking everyone at RBA who had helped in his preparation, promising to work harder for future bouts.
Lee admitted Fanthome’s performance was not his best and praised both fighters for their efforts.
THE FOLLOWING week Lee took light heavyweight Alex Tatlow to the same location to take on Northfield’s Sam Cornez.
In a highly-charged environment, Cornez sprinted towards Tatlow at the opening bell, only to be met with a solid back-hand which forced him on to the back foot. As Tatlow drove Cornez against the ropes, reminiscent to a WWF bout, Cornez manhandled both boxers to the canvas.
With the referee warning Cornez to stick to boxing, Tatlow pounced on the Northfield brawler and landed the better-quality punches. After a solid onslaught from Tatlow, with Cornez covering up in the corner, the referee paused the bout to deliver a standing eight count.
The bell ending round one came at the end of the count, saving Cornez from further punishment.
During the break, Tatlow appeared to get some harsh words from Lee, telling him to stick to his boxing and not get involved in a brawl. This advice, obviously heeded, was put into practice in round two as Tatlow moved around the ring gracefully, landing scoring blows at will.
Despite being the visiting fighter, Tatlow, with his entourage of fans, proved popular with the crowd as they cheered each punch as it landed.
With round three starting, the Northfield fighter, behind on points, had it all to do. However, on rushing forward, Tatlow, controlling the centre of the ring, delivered a straight shot which rocked Cornez’s head back.
The round appeared to be one-way traffic for the Redditch southpaw as he picked his punches, landing to the head and body of Cornez who, showing signs of frustration, was warned for holding.
As Cornez pushed to turn the tide, Tatlow upped his workrate, trapping Cornez in the corner and landing four unanswered headshots. The bell ended round three and another demonstration of quality work from the victorious RBA talent who clinched a unanimous decision.
RBA has a squad of more than 30 boxers who are back in action over the next few weeks. Anyone interested in joining the squad should contact head coach Lee on 07541 133844.