Pair of Legions Gym boxers who became national champions

The LEGIONS Amateur Club have two more national champions in their team following the victories of Leo Atang and Rosanna Bycroft at Vertu Motors Arena in Newcastle.

Participating in England’s first major boxing tournament since the easing of coronavirus restrictions, the Legion pair of boxers won their fights in the semi-finals and finals to bring the gym up to five national champions.

The 14-year-old Atang faced Bailey Giles in his first fight, with the undefeated Kent boxer offering a challenge thanks to his great southpaw position.

In a close quarters fight that was brewing even in the last round, Atang emptied his tank and applied a lot of pressure in order to secure a unanimous decision victory.

The 76kg boxer then advanced to the final where he boxed Georgie Ives of famed West Ham ABC, another towering southpaw.

Atang boxed hard again, this time forcing a standing count in the second round, before winning the verdict of all judges.

Bycroft meanwhile, boxing at 51kg, faced Sophie Wright of Scunthorpe in the semifinals.

The York boxer got off to a quick start and twice forced the referee to take a standing count, with the official giving up the fight shortly after the second round.

In the final, the 13-year-old went on to face the much-loved Rianna Doforo, who previously battled with professional champion Terri Harper.

After a thrilling competition in which the two boxers put everything on the line, Bycroft won by split decision.

Coincidentally, the pair of newly crowned national champions made their amateur competitive debut at the same show in Bradford two years ago this week.

Legions Gym’s head boxing coach Ashley Martin praised the couple’s dedication as they continued to train away from the gym amid the country’s lockdowns and have now received their fair rewards.

“During the pandemic a lot of boxers took time off, but I know a lot of our boxers trained hard, and there were two of them who continued to train during the pandemic,” he said.

“They both worked on their personal development as boxers and their physical form.

“Both have small gym facilities in their garage, with bags and pieces of equipment.

“And at the Gym, we did online sessions and they were both involved in those too.

“It helped them stay and prepare for the championships when they arrived.”

Elsewhere at the same event, the Legions’ Reece Fitzgerald lost a close split decision in his semifinal fight.

Gym buddy Riley Edeson was unanimously defeated by John McDonagh of the Ardwick Lads in his 68kg final.

Looking ahead, Legion boxers will prepare for another national championship shortly after Christmas, with this month’s event the revamped edition amid the pandemic.

Clifton Moor Gymnasium will also host a home club show on Friday October 22 at the Acomb Working Men’s Club.

The show features recently crowned National Champions Atang and Bycroft as well as the following Legions Gym boxers: Ethan Cooper, Ruby-May Allan, Macie Allen, Amari Touhey, Reece Fitzgerald, Jay-Jay Butler, Riley Edeson, Reuben Smith, Harrison Barker , Henry Marshall, Jay Carter, Julia Ward, Tom Scaife and Dan Foster.

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