In-form Nico into semi-finals

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

It’s now an incredible eight wins out of eight this season for Mansfield’s amateur boxing star Nico Leivars as the youngster won his latest bout to sail through to the semi-finals of the England ABA junior boxing championships.

Nico travelled to Birmingham and boxed against home city opponent Imran Khan in the quarter-finals of the championships and progressed through to the next round after a clear-cut unanimous decision.

Over the three rounds Nico wasn’t able to showcase his impressive array of talents as Khan, from the city’s great Frankie O’Sullivan Club, tried to force him into a brawl and held, pushed and grappled at every opportunity, so much so that the boxers almost at one stage crashed through the ropes.

However, Nico remained composed and dodged and weaved to find enough space to land his snapping punches, most notably a picture perfect right hook which stopped the Birmingham boxer in his tracks.

All Saints School pupil Nico, the Midlands and Regional champion, had beaten St George’s Christagie Charalambous and then Trinity Boxing Club’s Louis Hemstock, both top class boxers, on unanimous decisions to face Khan.

Said Nico, who will return to the same venue for the semi-final bout: “I think I’m improving with each fight and getting sharper.

“I’d heard beforehand that Khan’s a boxer that likes to come forward and push you back to the ropes, so the game plan was to stay relaxed and find the gaps in his defence and it worked.

“I was happy with the win, it was a bit frustrating but I was prepared for the style of fight and can’t wait for the next bout.

“My preparation was brilliant and a huge thank you to my dad Jules who spends so much of his own time training me. Also to my sponsors AS Plant and Spire Boxing Academy in Chesterfield, who I currently represent, the ABA’s East Midlands honorary secretary Dave Cockell for his continued support, and members of Mansfield’s boxing fraternity, Russell Robles-Walker, Hector Muir and Edgar Barkovskis, who were at the show.”

Edgar, an amateur boxer, who is also trained by Jules, has this season won four of his five bouts.