Home   Sport   Article

PICTURES: Elgin Amateur Boxing Club beats Storm Arwen and Covid-19 to stage annual fight night at Elgin City FC Social Club


By Craig Christie

Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our digital subscription packages!



THE wild weather and the pandemic couldn't stop Elgin Amateur Boxing Club from hosting their annual dinner show on Friday.

All the fighters get together for Elgin Amateur Boxing Club's annual show. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
All the fighters get together for Elgin Amateur Boxing Club's annual show. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

While Storm Arwen wreaked havoc across the country, and Covid-19 led to last-minute call-offs, the show went on at Elgin City Football Club's social club facility.

The event was held on the day that Elgin head coach Paul 'Ratch' Gordon was unveiled as Scotland's 'Unsung Hero' in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards for his service to the club.

The accolade was an extra reason to celebrate but Gordon said he expected Friday's show to falter because of outside forces and was delighted with how well it went.

"With call-offs due to Covid, injuries and then on the day of the show, Storm Arwen closing roads from all sides to Elgin, the show should have been an all-out disaster," he said.

"Instead, with the help of local clubs, the officials and the boxers themselves it turned out to be the best display of boxing for years."

Getting the action under way was a skills bout between home youngsters Findlay Gardiner and Kurt Shaughnessy.

"All watching could not believe that this was the first time that both these young boxers had stepped inside the ring to compete," said Gordon.

"The pace, punch selection and competitiveness was a joy to see and the crowd all applauded when both boxers got their hands raised."

Fellow Elgin boxers Liam Shiels and Charlie Moody saw their scheduled opponents call off on the day of the event, so they were paired together in an exhibition match.

Liam Shiels and Charlie Moody both get their hand raised after a thrilling exhibition bout. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Liam Shiels and Charlie Moody both get their hand raised after a thrilling exhibition bout. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Shiels' unpredictable style and movement would normally be a handful for any novice boxer, but Moody set about his work perfectly and the first round was closely-contested.

Shiels did land with some powerful punches in rounds two and three, but his inexperienced opponent came fighting back to the thrill of the crowd.

Next in the ring was local hopeful Tyler Sked against Insch BC's Ricky Smith in the first competitive bout of the evening.

Tyler Sked (right) goes on the offensive against Ricky Smith (Insch BC). Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Tyler Sked (right) goes on the offensive against Ricky Smith (Insch BC). Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The duo had met before with Smith deservedly being declared winner in his own club's home show.

But during the sporting lockdown, Sked had been training hard and making strides of improvement, and Friday's fight showed the fruits of his labour.

By the end of a competitive, three-round fight the Elgin boxer's hand was raised and he reversed the previous outcome to win the day.

Tyler Sked gets the verdict. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Tyler Sked gets the verdict. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Elgin youth boxer Jacob Ballingall took on another Insch opponent in Matthew Allan in a 64kg affair between two youngsters starting their journey in the sport.

Elgin ABC's Jacob Ballingall (right) won against Matthew Allan of Insch BC. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Elgin ABC's Jacob Ballingall (right) won against Matthew Allan of Insch BC. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Ballingall's southpaw jab emerged from the very start and his elusive style and rapid footwork caused his opponent problems. After the three rounds, the judges had no problem declaring the Elgin boxer the winner.

Celebration time for Jacob Ballingall. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Celebration time for Jacob Ballingall. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The night's first female bout saw another two boxers making the competitive debut as Elgin's Faith Ross took on Caithness BC opponent Alisha MacKay.

Ross started boxing as part of the free female-only sessions run by the Elgin club and loved the sport so much, she continued to the competitive side.

Gordon said: "As the bout started this was never going to be a timid affair with both girls landing bombs."

The Elgin boxer was on top in the first round with the dominance change hands several times as both girls pushed their opponent back.

Home boxer Faith Ross (right) fighting against Alisha Mackay (Caithness BC). Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Home boxer Faith Ross (right) fighting against Alisha Mackay (Caithness BC). Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The last round saw MacKay driving forward with hooks and Ross landing one-twos, meaning the final verdict could have gone either way, but the judges preferred the come-forward work of the Caithness boxer and declared her the winner.

"This takes nothing away from Faith who performed fantastic," said Gordon.

Former Commonwealth Games fighter Megan Gordon was scheduled to make her competitive return to the ring from injury against another elite Scottish international boxer, who then called off due to Covid issues.

Josie Walls aims a punch at Commonwealth Games boxer Megan Gordon in what turned out to be an exciting women's exhibition bout. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Josie Walls aims a punch at Commonwealth Games boxer Megan Gordon in what turned out to be an exciting women's exhibition bout. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

With the show looking in jeopardy, another Elgin female boxer Josie Walls stepped up and agreed to an exhibition bout against Gordon.

It was a fight that oozed class, with both boxers demonstrating attacking and defensive skills that had the spectators hooked, so much so that it became forgotten that it was an exhibition fight as the fans called for a winner.

Elgin pair Josie Walls and Megan Gordon embrace at the end of their fight. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
Elgin pair Josie Walls and Megan Gordon embrace at the end of their fight. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Two senior 64kg boxers entered the ring after the interval, with local lad Andrew Forsyth taking on Cailean Fraser from Caithness BC.

"If any of the fans watching wanted a toe-to-toe war then they were not disappointed by this," Gordon said. "Both boxers never stopped throwing from the first to the last bell."

Forsyth's infamous body punches took effect on his opponent, who would dig in deep and come firing back.

The Elgin boxer deserved his win in the end, but it was a memorable fight that could easily lead to a rematch in the future.

Due to difficulties in matching one of Scotland’s top youth boxers in Corey Rizza, the Elgin lad had to settle for an exhibition against Kincorth BC's Fraser Knowles.

Rizza's power punches mixed with Knowles' combinations played out to be an interesting fight that at times mirrored a violent chess move with both boxers skilfully trying to work out the next move their opponent made.

Local heavyweight boxer Craig Mone had been waiting over two years to make his debut having just got his boxing medical before the pandemic.

But misfortune struck again when his opponent had to turn back home when they couldn’t make it to the venue.

It was then that Elgin ABC's multi-titled Scottish champion Fraser Edwards stepped in with an offer to do an exhibition against Mone.

Gordon said: "This bout was like David versus Goliath, with Fraser having to use all his defensive capabilities to avoid the long punches from Craig.

"In the three rounds, both boxers landed and took punches that would have put many on the canvas, but when the final bell rang they embraced and raised each others hands in a show of sportsmanship."

Top of the bill was a 69kg bout with another two boxers making their debut in Elgin's David Grigor against Sean McRea (Insch BC).

David Grigor was top of the bill as he lands a punch on Insch's Sean McRea. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
David Grigor was top of the bill as he lands a punch on Insch's Sean McRea. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

The pair had sparred with each other during the previous month so there was no need for them to try to figure each other out and they got down to business straight away.

Grigor was scoring off the jab hook, then moving off to leave his opponent with no option but to drive forward with punches.

Some of McRea's punches landed but most were taken on the gloves or went flying by when Grigor slipped his attentions.

At the end of a closely-contested bout, the Elgin boxer was given the verdict to claim another victory.

An arm raised in triumph for David Grigor. Picture: Becky Saunderson..
An arm raised in triumph for David Grigor. Picture: Becky Saunderson..

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More