A TEAM of nine boxers left from their base at the Harry Crook Centre in Fishponds to head for Ireland to represent Downend Boxing Club in the annual Celtic Box Cup.
The event took place at the end of September in the beautiful city of Dungarvan in County Waterford, hosting teams from all over the world.
Twins Jake and Ben Demmery, 22, opened the club's account on Friday afternoon in the quarter finals.
Jake had a tough draw against Irish international Dean Walsh from St Ibars Boxing Club.
A strong start by both men made for a fast paced contest which, for the most part saw honours even, until the experienced Wexford man pulled away with fast combinations, using every bit of his international experience. After three tough rounds, the points decision went to the home boxer.
Ben faced Norwegian opposition in Kevin Gronlund from Sportsklubben 1909. The tough Oslo man soaked up all of Ben's strong attacks, countering well at long range, before succumbing to Demmery's fast attacks which saw Ben book his place into the semi-finals.
First to go in the semis was 18-year-old Usamah Zaman who drew Alex Frant of Corinthians, Dublin. A tense start from the Downend boxer saw a close first round, before Usamah warned to his task relaxing and using superior movement and speed to outbox his competitive opponent earning him a final's place by points decision.
The club then fell victim to the computer generated draw, which saw club mates Bailey Phillips, 18, and 17-year-old Bradley Smith box each other in the male youth A - 60k category. A very tense contest followed that was competitive, with both guys displaying the height of sportsmanship and respect.
On this occasion Bailey emerged the winner, with smiles all round having enjoyed the experience.
Callum Smith, 19, stepped into the ring as a relatively new senior boxer, facing Teo Allen of Cookstown Boxing Club County Tyrone. Callum's traditional smart style was present throughout however, ring rust and nerves saw him tense and eventually outworked by the busy and aggressive Ulsterman.
Ben Demmery then took to the ring against Jordan McIntosh of double jab boxing club, London. Some fast footwork and neat evasive movement thwarted the strong attacks of Jordan, who was being peppered by Ben's combinations, moving him into the final by points decision.
A busy finals day on the Sunday began with 17-year-old Georgia Williams facing Kirsten Tobin of Leo's Boxing Club, Athlone, County Westmeath. Georgia came out for the first round quickly circling her opponent and throwing fast jabs which took the first round.
The second saw a similar pattern, the aggressive and strong Athlone girl throwing heavy swings, that seemed to miss Georgia.
At the end of a great contest, there was some surprise when a split decision went to the Irish girl. But a great performance from Georgia none the less.
Ushama faced Wiltshire man Ethan Frayling in his final. In only his sixth contest the Downend boxer was composed under immense pressure from the experienced Ethan who used his experience to take a well deserved gold.
Up next Bailey Phillips who faced Tomas Silva of Privilegio Boxing Club, Portugal.
The first round tactics from Bailey were ineffective as both boxers sought to box at long range. A change of tactics from the Downend corner came in the second and third rounds, catching out the Portuguese boxer, and earning the prestigious gold medal for Bailey Phillips.
Ben Demmery found himself up against an Elite opponent in 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist Aiden Walsh of Monkstown, County Antrim. Ben followed the corners orders to the letter, holding the centre of the ring whilst Aiden wheeled around throwing fast single shots, with great accuracy. Ben was having none of it, and pushed the Ulster man back continually however, the experience at top level from Aiden saw the more accurate work earning him a unanimous points decision.
It was however, a career highlight for Ben to box so well against a top flight international.
Another all West Country affair followed when Owen Pirret, 18, faced Trowbridge boxer Thomas Varey. The bout looked as good as over in the first round, with Owen's hard punching forcing Thomas to cover and move. Gradually in the second and third, both boxers engaged in an all out war, Owen tiring badly from the early onslaught. His determination and fitness saw Thomas take the verdict, in a crowed pleasing bout.
Last up were the big men, 118-kilo Mak McIntosh facing under 22 Irish team captain Thomas Cartey of Glasneven, Dublin in the super heavy weight Elite final.
The men squared up in centre ring, Mak being the bigger of the two. The left-handed Irishman made good use of his jab taking the contest in close, when Mak opened up leaving his opponent on the floor, the referee however calling a no knock down.
Close quarters action for the rest of the round saw a very thin points margin go to the Dubliner.
I am delighted with all of the performances in what is the first fixture of the season for the club. Five silvers and a gold at this standard of competition is by far our best result in recent years, and bodes well for the rest of the season.
Downend Boxing Club