England Boxing National Junior Championships 2019 – day one report

March 23, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny


Cameron Lavery was jumping for joy after he toppled double European Schools Champion Royston Barney-Smith on an exciting day of semi-final action at the England National Junior Championships 2019.

The Impact boxer secured a split decision against his highly-fancied opponent in the Junior Under 54kg category after an intense bout that saw both boxers give their all at the Magna Science and Adventure Centre.

Pinewood boxer Barney-Smith had decided to step straight up from Schools to Junior level – skipping the Junior Cadet category – in an attempt to earn the right to go for a third straight European title.

But it was Lavery who progressed to tomorrow’s final (Sunday) where he will now meet West Ham’s Finley James, who stopped England international William Tyers (Darlington) after the North-East boxer appeared to suffer a leg injury.

“I’m almost speechless – I’m absolutely buzzing,” said Lavery, wreathed in smiles after congratulatory hugs from his support team. “To beat a two-time European champion is a great feeling.

“This is why you get in the ring, for days like this, and hopefully I can go all the way and win the final now. I’ve certainly enjoyed boxing in this tournament to this point.”

There was no such issues for another European medallist, Megan Bainbridge, who claimed a silver at Junior level in Russia last year.

The Brandon boxer was made to work hard by game opponent Shannon Fraser-Butey (Team Graves) before eventually claiming a unanimous Junior Under 48kg category decision.

She said: “I was very pleased with my performance against what was a decent boxer. I worked things out a bit in the first part of the bout and then went from there.

“When you come to the Nationals, you know it is going to be hard because all the top people are in it and there are no easy bouts.

“I’ve competed internationally but it’s always brilliant to compete on this stage in your own country, and I believe I can go all the way.”

Another female to show her class was Fisher’s Sasha Hickey, who used her height to good effect in clinching a unanimous win over Burmantofts’ Millie Jukes in the Junior Under 57kg category.

Equally impressive was the form of Enriko Itauma in the Male Over 80kg category, as he overcame Repton’s Aloys Youmbi.

The St Mary’s boxer – brother of 2018 Olympic Youth Games gold medal winner Karol – demonstrated that talent runs in the family and will hope to take home a national title when he faces Jimmy Gavin (Larches and Savick) in the final, who won a split decision against Badra Taure (Golden Gloves).

In the Junior Cadets section, there were some thrilling bouts, with Miley Cash springing something of an upset as the Pinewood boxer beat Shane Pattinson (High Fell), a European Schools Champion, by way of a unanimous verdict.

Kings Heath’s Zara Aitcheson, meanwhile, showed her potential as she stopped Jasmine Fenwick (Howden) to set up an intriguing Junior Cadet Under 54kg final against Trowbridge’s Alex Bryant, who also shone in her unanimous win over Louise Brooks (Technique).