Plymouth boxers bidding to progress in this season's senior Amateur Boxing Association competition
PLYMOUTH quartet Jack Bellingham, Howard and Ryan Hart and Chris Adaway hit the road tomorrow bidding to progress to the next round of this year's Senior ABAs.
Mayflower ABC's Hart brothers and club-mate Adaway join forces with national novices title holder Bellingham, of Pilgrims ABC, eager to leave Bristol's Filton College as Western Counties champions.
From there it is the harder yards for them as the London clubs come into the reckoning, but the city boxers compete both in good form and confidence.
Only two of the party of Plymouth pugilists competed last weekend – Pilgrims ABC's Bellingham and Howard Hart, with Ryan Hart and Adaway both receiving byes.
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Bellingham has already captured a title this season – the ABA Senior Novice light middleweight (Class B) crown back in December.
Twenty-two-year-old Bellingham continued his upward career path with a points victory over Wesley Smith, of Bideford ABC, at Blandford last weekend.
The highly-regarded Smith was a semi-finalist in the 2011/12 amateur boxing season and a prized scalp for Bellingham ahead of the Western Counties stage.
Light welterweight Howard Hart also scored a notable victory, defeating another hot prospect from north Devon, Ben Owen, on points.
The 21-year-old Mayflower man, a semi-finalist in the senior ABAs last year, naturally will be hoping older brother Ryan, 22, will also prosper in the lightweight category, and, of course, Adaway in the featherweight ranks.
Mayflower coach Steve Clarke and his counterpart Glyn Mitchell, from Pilgrims, both believe their charges will give a good account of themselves and travel up the M5 well prepared.
Clarke said: "The boys are going up to Bristol in a confident frame of mind. I believe they have an excellent chance of getting through.
"They've all worked hard in training and their fitness and technical qualities are not in question.
"Hopefully, they can come back to the club as Western Counties champions and with a place in the next round."
Mitchell was equally upbeat over Bellingham's chances and said: "Jack's in great shape and having seen off a really good boxer like Wes Smith last time, he's got to have a great chance.
"I think having won a national title already helps with his confidence, but the Senior ABAs are another level altogether. There are no easy bouts.
"All the boxers left in the tournament are of a good quality, so while we're quietly confident, we're not getting carried away.
"But it would be great for Plymouth and the clubs to have all four boxers in the next block."