By Liam Moakes Thursday 06 December 2012 Updated: 07/12 10:26
THE CROWD were treated to a sensational night of amateur boxing on Saturday as the Abbey Stadium sports centre hosted the very first Redditch Box Cup, which saw the best amateur boxers in Great Britain battle it out for a place in tomorrow's (Saturday) Grand Finals.
The event was brought to the town by the newly-formed Redditch Community Amateur Boxing Club whose fighter Itsham Hussain did the town proud with a superb performance in his bout against Paul Holt of Nechells ABC.
Tomorrow brings the Grand Finals as the biggest amateur boxing event after the London 2012 Olympics draws to a close and organisers are keen to attract a capacity crowd to savour what promises to be an action-packed evening.
Doors open at 5pm and the boxing begins at 5.30pm but, if you cannot be there at that time, do not worry as the Premier class boxing does not start until 7.30pm.
During Saturday's semi-finals night, Redditch Community ABC's Hussain was involved in one of the fights of the night, boxing in the Premier lightweight division.
At the weigh-in, the RCABC team captain was drawn against Holt, the current Birmingham Belt holder and tournament favourite.
Despite the tough draw Hussain nearly turned the script on its head as he boxed beautifully from range and used his jab effectively.
As the first round progressed both boxers went head-to-head, with neither fighter willing to give any ground. Hussain finished the round with a telling southpaw shot that nearly sent the Birmingham champion to the canvas.
The second round was a three-minute thriller, with Holt always on the front foot but Hussain using his better boxing skills.
As the bell went to start the third round both boxers touched gloves as a sign of respect. By now both lads were marked around the face, with Hussain's right eye closing and Holt's lip swelling up.
As the action resumed, Holt trapped Hussain on the ropes and the Redditch man appeared to be in trouble, but he rallied and drove Holt back with a barrage of heavy punches.
The bout swung one way and then the other in what was a classic between two quality boxers. Holt was declared the winner by split decision and in doing so earned his place in the Grand Finals.
Despite Hussain's loss, RCABC coaches Todd Reeves and Sarah Lee said of their man's efforts: "We are so proud of our captain. He displayed the heart of a champion, is improving so much and is only two or three bouts away from challenging for the Midlands Belt."
The attention now turns to 20 action-packed bouts to decide the gold and silver medals tomorrow and it would be brilliant to see a bumper crowd support an event from which all of the proceeds will go to SADS UK (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) and RCABC to support its development.
Reeves added: "Proceeds will buy a defibrillator for St Mary's Catholic Primary School in Studley and every penny raised is going to a good cause.
"The boxing so far has been first class and we want the community to come to the Abbey Stadium on Saturday night and support this fantastic cause."
RCABC light heavyweight Umar Anjum will be boxing for the gold medal against 6ft 5in Birmingham Belt holder Shakan Pitters of 2nd City ABC, Birmingham.
Pitters is the Birmingham champion but hopes are high that Anjum has the power to bring home the gold.
Tickets are £15 and available on the door, whilst there is a fully licensed bar and great food, so do not miss out on the best boxing event Redditch has ever seen. For ticket details call Reeves on 07540 325688.
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