Also tight was the 67kgs bout between southpaws Travis Waters (Sunderland) and Anton Esson (Baker Street). Four of the five judges had Waters ahead at the final bell, but it was desperately close. Esson had stopped his previous two opponents in the championship, but the taller Waters didn’t give him too many chances to land his bombs in the opening round. Esson closed the gap quicker in the second and targeted Waters’ ribs.
Esson jumped all over Waters at the start of the third as well, but after around a minute his feet and punches slowed, giving Waters the time and room to land some eye-catching long punches.
At 71kgs, Ivan Duriak (Rotunda) impressed in his unanimous points win over Jack Oliphant, the 2017 European Junior champion from Hoddesdon ABC.
The compact Duriak, a Youth champion in 2017, was quicker to settle, beating the taller Oliphant to the jab in the first round.
Though Oliphant was more purposeful in the second, Duriak was hard to catch cleanly. He moved his upper body well and pecked away with scoring punches to stay ahead.
Oliphant had his best moment in the last when he landed a left hook, but Duriak came back to finish strongly.
Lewis Musson (Tyneside) also went through at 71kgs. He stopped the wiry Christian Thomas (St Pancras) in the second. Musson had Thomas on rubbery legs with a left-right and another sent him down. The bout resumed and Musson needed only one more punch, a right hand to the chin sending shivers down the Londoner’s legs. The referee waved it off.
Connor Samms (North Fire and Rescue) was ferocious at 60kgs. The 2019 Development champion didn’t leave Theocharis Karzis (Hoddesdon) alone from first bell to last and won unanimously. After spending much of the opening round on the ropes, Karzis met Samms in the centre of the ring at the start of the second and looked to trade with him. Samms was too strong. He forced Karzis to the ropes and went to work, landing hooks and uppercuts, down and up. The ringside doctor looked at a wound over Karzis’ right eye in the second and again in the last.
William Hewitt (Leigh) and Will Gardiner (Parkstone) are also through at 60kgs. Hewitt was a unanimous points winner over the willing Sam Muddimer (1st Legion). Hewitt did a good job of boxing around Muddimer, who was always dangerous with his left hook. The bout between Gardiner and Blaise Binskin (Margate) was much closer, Gardiner going through on a 3-2 split verdict. Binskin put everything into the last round and southpaw Gardiner picked up a warning for ducking low, but Gardiner did enough in the first two on three of the cards.
Louie O’Doherty (Halstead) didn’t need the judges. The referee had to rescue Jamal Kayani (High Wycombe) in the second of their 63.5kgs clash after O’Doherty handed him three counts. O’Doherty coolly walked Kayani down, looking to land heavy shots on the counter. The first time O’Doherty found his chin, Kayani clearly felt it and the referee stepped in to give a count after two or three clean punches knocked his head back later in the round. O’Doherty didn’t go looking for the finish, just kept Kayani under pressure with his feet and waited for the gaps to appear.