Rising London stars given TV showcase on quest for glory

ABA hopefuls looking to repeat success of Nigel Benn, James DeGale and Frank Bruno will fight live on London Live

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The Independent Online

The London ABA is arguably the greatest finishing school in British amateur boxing. This weekend in Croydon sees the next generation of superstars slug it out for the glory that comes with victory at the London finals.

The action will be broadcast live on the capital’s dedicated news channel, London Live, further demonstrating the appeal of a championship that dates back to 1948.

By some geographical quirk the North West division has produced the larger share of champions, and so it is that Dale Youth in Notting Hill, home of the 2008 Olympic middleweight champion James DeGale and his bitter rival George Groves, feature heavily in 2015.

The club has four boxers through to today’s semi-finals, including light heavyweight Matthew Tinker, history graduate Joey Teal at welterweight and middleweight Hamid Sediqy.

The majority of amateur boxers are content to remain so but for those who do turn pro, London has been a brilliant proving ground.

No fewer than six Olympic gold medallists have emerged since the Second World War.Terry Spinks (West Ham) set the ball rolling followed by Chris Finnegan (Hayes), Audley Harrison (Repton), DeGale, Anthony Joshua (Finchley) and Yorkshire lass Nicola Adams, who boxed out of the Haringey Police Community Club.

The London hub has also given us a profusion of professional world champions, led by the great Repton men John H Stracey, Maurice Hope, Leslie Stewart, Darren Barker and Andy Lee.

Terry Downes, Lloyd Honeyghan, Cornelius Boza Edwards, David Haye, Nigel Benn (above), Steve Roberts, Duke McKenzie, Dennis Andries, Charlie Magri, Richard Williams, Frank Bruno, Colin McMillan, Terry Marsh and Terry Allen complete the capital’s world championship club.

The three-hour live show at Fairfield Halls features 10 championship bouts. Among the highlights at heavyweight is Repton’s James Branch attempting to emulate his father Jamie Branch in taking the crown.

London ABA president  Ron Philipson emphasised the importance of the association with London Live, owned by Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent, in broadcasting amateur boxing. “London Live is a very exciting development for London boxing,” he said.

“All of us at the London ABA are looking forward to building a long-term partnership to further develop media coverage of our top boxers and to bring to light the outstanding day-to-day community work carried out by London ABA’s boxing clubs.”

The view was echoed by the president of England Boxing and London ABA secretary Keith Walters, who said: “It is fitting that the modern sport of amateur boxing, which was born in London in 1880 and has spread throughout the world, should be televised live by a London TV company.

“London Live’s enthusiasm has added an extra edge to an outstanding day of quality boxing.”

The London Boxing Championships will be on London Live tomorrow at 3pm – Freeview 8, YouView 8, Sky 117 and Virgin 159