On Thursday 10.3.11, IBC junior prospect, 16yr old ANTHONY WARD (60kg) took part in the London NW Divisional finals of the Junior ABA Championships which were held at the Hayes Working Mens Club in West London.
In the semi-final, ANTHONY came up against BILLY ALLINGTON of Hayes ABC in an all-action encounter which saw WARD pressurise his opponent throughout the 3 rounds. In the opening round BILLY did his best to repel the swarming attacks as he boxed neatly off the back foot, but it was only a matter of time before ANTHONY found his range and started to land some good straight shots to the head, mixed with some punishing body shots. In round 2 WARDS pressure was beginning to take its toll as ALLINGTON was visibly tiring and showing signs of distress. BILLYS sharp counters were quickly returned by heavier, hurtful shots from WARD. In the 3rd round ANTHONY continued his assault on a retreating ALLINGTON who tried to rally bravely but WARD was just too strong as he slotted home some more vicious bodyshots, working well from body to head.
At the final bell the outcome was unanimously in favour of WARD but credit to BILLY for his spirited resistance.
In the final, a couple of hours later, ANTHONY met a more experienced opponent in RICKY CARR of Ruislip ABC who came in to the bout fresh, from not having boxed earlier as he’d received a bye straight to the final.
In round 1, CARR took the initiative and he immediately put ANTHONY under pressure, maybe suspecting WARD would be tired from his earlier endeavour. RICKY, boxing from a southpaw stance, waded in only to be met by stubborn resistance from WARD who gave as good as he got. Once CARR realised that WARD still had plenty to offer, he became more cautious as it seemed that ANTHONY was still the stronger of the two. Once WARD started to find his range and land solid head shots mixed with his spiteful body punching, the writing was on the wall. In round 2, ANTHONY boxed sensibly and picked his shots whilst RICKY was now resorting to holding and going in too low which the referee cautioned him for. As the action resumed, ANTHONY caught RICKY with a heavy combination of punches which brought a standing count from the ref and CARR was now looking distressed. Shortly after the first count, WARD put together another punishing combination which brought a second standing count from the ref and also the towel from the Ruislip corner who rightly rescued their man from further punishment.
It was an encouraging display from ANTHONY who has proved once again that he has the heart, strength and determination to win titles. He will need to call on all his reserves when he challenges for a London title next week ( date and venue to be confirmed )
By Paul Hammick
Anthony Ward of the Islington Boxing Club