Golden boy Marcus Ellis is the pride of Huthwaite Amateur Boxing Club after bringing home a magnificent gold medal from the prestigious England Box Cup.
The Box Cup is a two-day tournament for schoolboy and junior elite boxers from across England. And 14-year-old Marcus was desperate to taste success after a season plagued by injuries.
The competition was fierce at Wickford in Essex, but Marcus came through semi-final and final bouts with flying colours to be crowned the main event champion in his 56-58kg weight category.
The accolade added to the national schoolboys title that Marcus, who hails from Worksop, landed last year, and it delighted everyone at the Huthwaite club, especially his coach, Chris Jowett.
In his semi, the youngster was drawn against Shay Norman, whose club, Billericay and Wickford, were hosting the event. And he deserved huge credit for refusing to be intimidated by the partisan crowd and the vociferous support that his opponent had in the arena.
Neither lad was prepared to give ground in the opening round when Marcus, through clever footwork, managed to turn Norman on the ropes and land a strong combination of punches. He also dominated the second round when landing a strong backhand that shook the home fighter before following orders from his cotrner to keep his opponent at length behind his jab.
The win was sealed in the third round, which Marcus started with a left hook backhand combination and got on the front foot to box skilfully. It was no surprise when all three judges awarded him all three rounds for a unanimous decision.
And so to the final the following day against Mitch Lawson, of Halstead, also in Essex, a strong, compact boxer who had clearly come to fight.
In the opening round, Marcus refused to let Lawson settle into a rhythm, peppering him with jabs and connecting with strong backhands to boss the exchanges.
The Huthwaite lad then started the second round like a rocket, landing good combinations and pressing Lawson so hard that the referee had to stop the fight to see if his opponent was OK to continue.
Lawson did carry on but the third and final round was reduced to an exercise of survival for him. At every opportunity, he held Marcus and smothered his work. Marcus still caught him with a left hook and then a backhand combination sent him sprawling into the ropes.
Credit must go to the Halstead fighter for lasting the full three minutes but, by the end, he was well beaten and Marcus was awarded the contest in another unanimous decision.
His triumph is a real feather in the cap for Huthwaite ABC, a well-established club run by volunteers and fully licensed, qualified coaches. For more information, see their Facebook page.