James Turner hits back for super Barnstaple ABC boxing debut
IN BOXING, so the old saying goes, it's not how hard you can hit, it's how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.
That ability to take a punch and respond is particularly important in the super heavyweight division.
James Turner showed it on a barnstorming debut for Barnstaple ABC.
The roof was ready to come off the Roundswell Community Centre when the former rugby player fought back for a win against Jamie Hancock.
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Standing at well over 6ft, Turner has a long way to fall before he hits the canvas – but he almost made that journey in the first ten seconds.
Caught by a clubbing right hand from the St Austell visitor, he wobbled into the red corner and only just stayed on his feet.
The standing count in the early stages gave the 25-year-old the chance to gather his senses and gain a foothold in the fight. And the shorter, stockier Hancock was rocked by a booming right hand before the bell sounded for the end of the first round.
Another furious exchange had the crowd roaring at the start of the second and from there the Barnstaple newcomer looked much more assured.
To chants of 'There's only one James Turner' in the packed venue, he picked the cleaner punches, clinching a unanimous win in style.
Fight fans love to watch hard hitters and they were treated again as Raivo Vidins clashed with Dan Hodge at heavyweight.
This time the battle of the big guns went the way of the Cornishman, with Hodge, from St Austell, taking the decision from all three judges.
Vidins, known to his club-mates as Sven, was making his boxing debut, having previously fought in mixed martial arts. He landed sharp left hooks while Hodge, in his second bout, was always dangerous with the power in his right hand.
Steph Ward was the third member of Barnstaple's senior squad making her home debut.
Her rematch with Jenny Davis lived up to the intensity of their original meeting in Chelmsford, Essex, three weeks ago.
Having travelled back from Leeds University for her home show, Barum's only active female boxer put in a composed performance.
While Ward moved smartly and had success with the left jab, Davis, a ferocious competitor, found her way through with winding right hands to take the win by majority.
Tom Allum has never been known to duck a challenge and when his scheduled opponent pulled out, the Barnstaple favourite jumped at the chance of a match with Billy Stanbury.
Plenty among the home support feared it might be a step too far against Combe Martin's national champion but, despite a points defeat, Allum gave an excellent account of himself.
Although Stanbury's work-rate often overwhelms opponents, he was kept at range as Allum held a tight guard and jabbed effectively.
The Combe Martin boxer was rarely troubled, though, and did enough for a useful win in the build-up to the England ABA Championships.
Billy Hammett was back in the ring in Barnstaple for the first time since 2011 but the evening ended in disappointment.
Caught by a flurry of punches from Empire's Tim Cutler, he was clearly in trouble in the second of the scheduled four-rounder.
The Bristol boxer piled forward and referee Nigel Weston, doing a sterling job in his 16th bout of the night, had little choice but to stop the fight.
After last week's victory in Dorset, Nico Faassen resumed his rivalry with Chris Adams, of Sturminster Newton, but this time a tight decision went against him.
Coach Mark Simpson was delighted with the efforts of all 15 Barnstaple boxers.
"I don't think we have ever put a better team out," he said. "Get them all together and they feed off each other – they really are a team. I'm dead proud of them."