Billy Stanbury is Combe Martin's first national boxing champion
COMBE MARTIN Amateur Boxing Club has produced its first national champion.
In the biggest fight of his life, Billy Stanbury gave a typically tenacious performance to win the National Ambition title at the Kings Hall in Stoke-on-Trent.
Reputations mean nothing to Stanbury who went on the attack to defeat reigning champion Bobby Begg, of the Lambton Street Club in Sunderland.
Anyone who has seen him box at his home venue of Combe Martin Village Hall will know all about Stanbury's all-action style.
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"I always try to win the first round and go from there," he said. "In the first round I went out really strong, just throwing big punches, putting him on the back foot and basically trying to stay in the middle of the ring."
After trailing from the early stages in the class B under-70kg final, Begg was forced to take chances and Stanbury's superior strength and fitness took him clear. At the end of the three-round contest, all five judges gave the victory to the North Devon boxer.
Staying relaxed on the big occasion is one of the strengths of Stanbury, 17.
"It was a big dinner show and I think there were about 300 people there sitting down and eating," he said.
"It doesn't really faze me. I find it more nerve-racking boxing at home because it's (in front of) everyone I know."
Only Stanbury's coaches Lloyd Chappell and Kevin Taylor, and club-mates Craig Lavercombe and Jake Thorne, were there to cheer him on – a contrast to the rousing reception he usually gets at the village hall.
Since he made his debut for Combe Martin at their first show three years ago, 'Billy the Kid' has grown up in the ring.
Defeat in his first bout against Reece Burnett, of Tiverton, in September 2009 only spurred him on to greater efforts.
"I lost the first fight and that made me want to win," he said."I think I won six or seven in a row after that.
"The winning, I like. And I like going to shows and meeting loads of different people, especially at championships.
"The person you box, you always have respect for. One minute you'll be punching them and the next minute you'll be shaking hands and having a chat."
The groundwork for Stanbury's first national title was done in pre-season, training five nights a week and running to the club from his home near The Hunters Inn in Heddon Valley.
With a record of only six defeats in his 29 bouts, Stanbury, who works as a mechanic at Loverings Garage in Combe Martin, is hoping for an international call-up.
"Now I have won this title, I should be scouted for the England squad," he said.
"That will be the next thing I would like to do."
Chappell said: "Nothing seems to deter him. It's like he's got a switch in the back of his head and it's like, 'Right, I am going to work now. I am going to box'.
"He's a great ambassador for the club and everyone is so proud of him."