England Boxing National Amateur Championships 2019 – Under 86kg preview with Ezra Taylor, Luke McWhinnie and Wycombe King
April 4, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny
They’ll be no need to dig out the Sat Nav or road atlas when Ezra Taylor makes his way to this Friday’s England Boxing National Amateur Championships 2019 pre quarter-finals – he’ll simply be repeating the same, short trip he makes to training every day.
While others will have to journey hundreds of miles to represent their club and region at the Harvey Hadden Sports Village tomorrow, the 24-year-old will be boxing just a stone’s throw from Bilborough Community ABC, where he trains.
So while his fellow boxers will being staying overnight in a hotel or setting their alarms to travel early in the morning to make the 10am weigh-in, Taylor can relax at his Sherwood home knowing it will take him a matter of minutes to get there.
It’s a stroke of good fortune the man who boxes in the Under 86kg weight division aims to take full advantage of by progressing through the three rounds of boxing over the weekend (quarter-finals are on Saturday and semi-finals on Sunday) to reach the prestigious England Boxing National Amateur Championships 2019 Finals Day at Manchester Central on Saturday 13thApril.
“It’s literally about 15 seconds walk from our gym to get to Harvey Hadden and I couldn’t believe it when my coach told me it would be there – I just thought he was joking and I had to go on the website to check!” said Taylor.
“I sometimes run to the gym from home as it’s only 10 minutes away. As the only boxer from Nottingham left in the competition, I feel it gives me a big advantage.
“For other years of this Championships, I’ve had to travel to Sheffield or London to compete, so to be able to sleep in my own bed at night and get away from things is a big help, especially with my mental preparation.
“This is my third season at the club – I came to boxing quite late and I didn’t really take it seriously when I was younger. But I feel the fact I have not been involved as long means I still have a strong hunger for it, whereas people who have boxed for a while can lose their enthusiasm and burn out.
“I feel that this is my time and I can do really well and get to Finals Day. It’s an amazing opportunity for me and I’m looking to take that next step.”
Also lining up in the same Under 86kg division is Southampton boxer Luke McWhinnie, who has earned his place in Nottingham with successive wins to take the Southern Counties belt for his weight category.
First he beat Woking’s Dean Freeman on a split decision in the regional semi-final before securing a unanimous verdict against Madi Jallow, a fellow boxer from his home city, who was representing the Inner City club.
Those victories followed success in December when the 19-year-old won the NABC Championships and he hopes to keep his good form going now he has moved up to the senior ranks.
Head Coach at Southampton, Gary White, said: “He’s done very well to take the Sothern belt and we’re buzzing for him on that, so anything he does from here is a bonus. He’ll be the baby of the group and he has nothing to lose.
“He’s always worked hard and has always been learning. He’s come back really well after being a really good schoolboy and then suffering a dip in confidence and form.
“Luke has boxed for the Waterside and Lawrence clubs in the past before moving to us about five years and though it’s not been all plain sailing, we’ve been really pleased with the way he’s come on, which helped him win a silver at the Haringey Box Cup last year.”
Up in the North West region, Collyhurst and Moston’s Wycombe King has been busy preparing for his shot at glory after beating MTK’s Marcin Lewicki in his regional final.
The man who travels from Chester to train in the Manchester suburbs underlined his potential by winning his first major title, the England Boxing National Development Championships, in October.
He is optimistic he can make further waves in Nottingham and then Manchester after sparring with former national finalists Jack Massey (a winner for Northside at Under 86kg in 2013) and Lynden Arthur (twice a finalist for Collyhurst and Moston at Under 81kg in 2014 and 2016).
“To win the Developments was a big thing for me, and gives me confidence, but this is the one that everyone wants to win,” said King.
“It would be a massive thing for me to box on Finals Day at Manchester Central if I could make it through. It would mean I get a lot of support from the gym – but they come out in their numbers wherever I box anyway.
“I wouldn’t be entering if I didn’t think I could go all the way and win it. I believe in what I have got, but we’ll just have to wait to see what happens in the ring.
“At the age of 25, hopefully the experience I now have can help me. I’m mature now as a person and as a boxer, I have my man’s strength, so hopefully that will count for something.”
Tickets are available on the day to spectate at Harvey Hadden for all three days, priced £20 adults, £10 concessions (65+) and £5 children (6 to 15-year-olds). Under 5s are free.
Boxing starts at 1pm on the Friday and Saturday (12noon doors) and at 12noon on Sunday (11am doors).
Tickets prices for Finals Day at Manchester Central a week on Saturday are £25 adults, £15 concessions (65+) and £10 children (6 to 15-year-olds), while Under 5s are free.