Amateur Boxing: “Fantastic” first Freedom Leeds fight night

AMATEUR boxing coach Wayne Woods has hailed Freedom Leeds’ first home show as a “fantastic night,” with more events in Seacroft to follow soon.

By Jacob Kilbride
Monday, 10th February 2020, 5:00 pm

In total, there were 16 bouts on the card which took place on January 31 at Seacroft Working Men’s Club, with eight of those contests involving Freedom Leeds fighters.

The club’s youngsters, Liam Lumb and Brea Mctear, were among the first involved, taking place in skills bouts – contests in which no result is given.

Jacob Bird kicked off Freedom Leeds’ competitive bouts by boxing his way to a unanimous decision.

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Team GB amateur boxer Conor Loftus, left, alongside Liam Hayes, who is looking to turn professional in the coming weeks. PIC: Jacob Kilbride

Harrison Haley made it consecutive wins for the gym by scoring a second-round stoppage while Callum Scott also won inside the distance, stopping his opponent in the first round.

Archie Harrison and Noah Thompson both suffered losses, though both came by narrow split decisions.

Then came the final Freedom Leeds boxer, Ellis Ward, who produced the fight of the night, according to Woods, in regards to the boxing ability he exhibited.

The 17-year-old, who is looking to turn professional once 18 in September, won his bout by a unanimous decision.

“It was a fantastic night,” said Woods.

“We were very busy and we got a lot of people coming through the door to support all of the local kids, which was fantastic to see.

“It was great to have done our first show pretty successfully and we got some great feedback from those that came as well as other coaches, clubs and judges.”

He added: “We have to thank Seacroft WMC for being great hosts.

“They always go out of their way for us.

“It was the first time that they’ve ever hosted a boxing show, so we wanted to make it a success for them too.”

On Ward, he said: “We’re excited about Ellis.

“He was coming back after a couple of losses, so to come back and get a good win, that was really pleasing.

“We’re looking to be busy with him for the rest of the season, before he goes professional.”

Freedom Leeds are planning two more home shows in the upcoming months, with dates booked for March 18 and May 20.

Elsewhere at the club, middleweight Liam Hayes is hoping to move into the paid ranks this spring, with the switch being subject to approval from the British Boxing Board of Control.

“Liam’s a solid, compact fighter who likes to plant his feet and hit hard shots,” said Woods, who will train Kippax-born Hayes, alongside Josh Warrington cornerman Jimmy Harrington.

“He comes forward with aggression, but he can box on the back foot too.

“He’s a very intelligent fighter and I think that shows as he’s shared the ring with Connor Loftus, the former Team GB amateur, and he’s been able to hold his own.

“He’s a role model to the lads in the gym, he’s a hard worker and all of the young lads look up to him. “He trains with the young kids and gives them advice and tips where he can.

“We’ve got really big hopes for him.”