Teenage boxer Ryan Hopkinson showed determination to win the East Midlands Junior Championship.
The Huthwaite ABC man fought in a very close final bout against another promising boxer from Earl Shilton ABC, taking it in the last round.
Shirebrook Academy student, Hopkinson, will now go on to box in the national quarter-finals in four weeks’ time and a shot at representing England.
The 14-year-old southpaw has already received top tips at national workshops in the last four years and has set his sights high.
“He wants to go as far as he can in boxing,” said his dad, Richard. “He trains three or four times a week and he’s doing all right.
“It’s brilliant to see him apply himself.
“He’s very placid, a nice polite kid, quiet sometimes but he loves boxing and becomes a different person in the ring. He’s a southpaw. He’s aggressive and strong. He’s getting faster too.
“I can see that development in him not just in his physical appearance but also in his boxing style. He’ll only get bigger, better, stronger as he grows up and gets more experience.”
Hopkinson junior has already had 26 bouts in the four years since he took up the sport, aged ten.
“It was just something he wanted to do,” said Richard. “He’s a sporty person by nature. He started at Bolsover and then he went to Daynesmoor and now Huthwaite. The different experiences have helped him.”
And, on the fight that saw his son take the regional title, Hopkinson senior, who coaches at Langwith Amateur Boxing Club, was proud of Ryan’s efforts.
He said: “He got drawn against a lad from Leicester and it was a good fight as they were both southpaws. Ryan got top side first round, his opponent came back in to it then Ryan dug in, in the third.
“He’s at 57kg now. He goes to the quarters at Grantham on 19th March against Midlands and North West. He’s got the tools to do it. If he wins that he’ll go down to Portsmouth for the finals. The semi will take place on the Saturday and finals on Sunday.”
And added: “He might get picked for the nationals if he wins the final. He’ll go on to box for England. It would be brilliant for him to represent his country. He’s been to some of the workshops but not fought competitively for England.”
Ryan is studying for a BTEC in mechanics at Shirebrook Academy and Richard said he has found a way to balance training and school work.
He said: “He’s doing well at school. He trains three or four times a week but still manages to keep on top of things. He loves boxing and wants to go pro - that’s his ambition.”