Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

DYNAMIC DUO ENJOY WARM-UP VICTORIES; Boxing

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

DYNAMIC DUO ENJOY WARM-UP VICTORIES; Boxing

Article excerpt

Byline: ADAM STEEL

JOE Maphosa and Tab Simamanie tuned up for the ABA Championships with Tyne Tees and Wear title wins as promoting club Natural Progression Boxing Academy kept a clean sheet on their own show at Thornaby Pavilion.

Maphosa reached the ABA bantamweight final in 2012 in his first senior season.

And judging by the way he performed in dethroning TTW 51kg champion Aaron Huberry (Shildon) he looks like he has a good chance of winning the ABAs after moving back down to flyweight.

The 18-year-old from Middlesbrough ABC took a while to get going, but found his range from the second round as he turned southpaw and whipped in fast straight lefts on the way to a 4-1 majority points victory.

"Considering it was his first one back after exploratory hand surgery, we were more than pleased with him," said Middlesbrough ABC coach Tony Whitby.

"He is still strong at 51kg." Simamanie's ABA debut ended in defeat to Jeff Saunders in the Tyne, Tees and Wear light welterweight final last season.

But he is now wiser and more experienced and goes into this weekend's association openers with confidence after making a successful second defence of his new 64kg belt against Sean Moore (Bilton Hall).

Simamanie was not at his best against an opponent he had beaten twice already, but boxed tidily enough to win a 4-1 majority decision.

Simananie's Phil Thomas School of Boxing team-mate James Blenkinsop was also involved in one of three bouts fought for regional belts, and his majority bantamweight defeat to Ryan Daley was a bit of a head scratcher.

Southpaw Blenkinsop landed with both hands before stepping neatly to the side, but lost a majority decision after Daley (Perth Green) connected with occasional clean right leads.

Natural Progression trainer Imran Naeem had few complaints after seeing all three of his participating junior boxers win unanimous decisions. …

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