Masood Abdulah (Islington) v Joe Tyers (Darlington)

England Boxing National Amateur Championships 2019 Finals Day – report

April 13, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny


Natty Ngwenya claimed an RSC victory over Thomas Pogson at the England Boxing National Amateur Championships 2019 to finally end his wait for a national winner’s belt – at the fourth time of asking.

The Male Under 91kg boxer, representing the Army, came to Manchester Central having lost on his three previous appearances in a final, but went one better this time with by stopping his Imps opponent, knocking him down twice.

Pogson gamely survived a first eight count, but the referee stepped in on the second occasion to leave Ngwenya jumping around the ring with delight.

After hugging friends and family who had made the journey to the North West to watch him, he spoke of his pride at sealing a long-held ambition of being able to call himself a national champion.

“What I would say to the people who have lost today, even though they will be disappointed now, is that they can come again and win it – just like I have done, even though it took me four times!”

“It was persistence that has got me this. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and I’m in a happy place.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, because it’s a major deal for me. People who have gone on to become world champions have come through this route, so who’s to say that’s not in the pipeline for me? I’m gobsmacked.”

Another to have reached four finals is Demie-Jade Resztan who, just like in the other three, was victorious, meaning she reigns supreme in the Female Under 48kg division.

The New Astley boxer faced a new opponent in Intense’s Rebecca McMullin, but always looked confident in sealing a unanimous decision.

She said: “It’s brilliant to get four in a row. I didn’t feel I was at my very best, but I’m fit and have the skills, so I got the job done.

“She was a good boxer and I enjoyed the bout. Hopefully it will be the Three Nations and the European Championships for me now.”

A rip-roaring bout took place in the Male Under 75kg division where Birtley’s Mark Dickinson took on Beartown’s Ramtin Musah.

As the crowd roared for both boxers, it was Dickinson who won a split decision verdict to give the North East club their only success of the day.

Dickinson was also named as best boxer of the tournament to win the Micky May Memorial Award.

“I’m buzzing after that,” he said. “It was a very good final and I had to dig deep and bite down on the gum shield to get it done.

“He had a big crowd in supporting him, but I wasn’t boxing the crowd and I was experienced enough just to blank that out.

“I have won national titles as a kid up to Youth, but I’ve never won a senior one, so this is the big one and the one that counts.”

It was an excellent day for the London clubs, including Haringey, who won two titles in the women’s bouts.

First Amy Andrew scored a unanimous decision against Arena’s Raven Chapman at Female Under 57kg and then Oriance Lungu edged out Birtley’s Hannah Shield with a split decision at Female Under 64kg.

Lungu said: “It was a tough bout, which I knew it would be, but I pushed through and got the win.

“In 2015 I was the runner-up in my first national final, so to win it this time feels amazing, especially as Amy boxed brilliantly to win her bout too.”

One of the most competitive divisions in these Championships has been the Male Under 81kg division, with the likes of Conner Tudsbury and Olympic Youth Champion Karol Itauma having gone out in the earlier stages.

And the final did not disappoint with the Royal Navy’s George Crotty and Triumph’s Aaron Bowen going hard at it for three rounds.

But it was the Coventry boxer who prevailed by a split decision over the number one seed, underlining the potential that saw him win a Commonwealth Youth Games gold medal for England in 2017.

“I had to push him hard because he is really good on his feet,” said Bowen. “I thought he nicked the first round, but then I thought I got going a bit and nicked the second and third rounds.

“It was close, but it’s top level boxing, so you are going to get close bouts. It’s such a hot division and there are a whole host of lads who could have been in the final, so to win it is massive.”

Elsewhere, Harvey Lambert (Male Under 69kg) won his first national title after four failed attempts at various age groups – including being a losing finalist last year – Masood Abdulah (Islington, pictured top) impressed in clinching a unanimous decision against Darlington’s Joe Tyers and Ibrahim Nadim (Bury) ensured local success as he edged out Dale Youth’s John O’Meara in the Male Under 56kg division.

The battle of the mums – Nina Hughes of Chadwell St Mary taking on Charley Davison of Attleborough – saw the latter earn a split decision in the Female Under 54kg division.

And there promises to be a good party in The Alma pub in Conisbrough tonight, where they will be celebrating the victory of Tom Hill’s Connor Kelsall.

The Yorkshire boxer retained his Male Under 49kg title with a unanimous win over Ben Litwin from Turner’s – and was hoping the fact he is the manager at the venue will help him snare a few free drinks!

A pint or two has been well-earned, given he has not touched a drop of alcohol since Christmas in preparation for this weekend.