Vanzie progresses to Elite ABA semis

Ashley Vanzie with coaches Shammy Cheema and Martin Bateson'Picture by Jack Comer.
Ashley Vanzie with coaches Shammy Cheema and Martin Bateson'Picture by Jack Comer.

Ashley Vanzie will meet Dean Laing of Birtley in the semi-finals of the Elite Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABA) Championships.

Vanzie, boxing out of the KBW Gym in Dewsbury, recorded a sensational knock-out victory over the British Army’s John Pontone in Gorton, Manchester, last Sunday.

Light heavyweight Vanzie, boxing in the 81KG class, outboxed his opponent in the first round before producing a stunning stoppage win, when a fierce right punch caught Pontone flush on the head and knocked him out.

It took around two minutes for paramedics to bring Pontone round before Vanzie celebrated booking his place in the last four of amateur boxing’s most prestigious tournament.

He will now travel to Everton Park Leisure Centre in Liverpool on Sunday April 7 to take on Laing for a place in the Senior ABA’s final.

It was the second knock-out win for Vanzie, who produced a devastating blow on his way to being crowned Yorkshire champion.

Vanzie had reached the quarter-finals the previous week when he overcame Great Britain Development Squad member Newall to reach the national stage.

Despite meeting one of the pre-tournament favourites, Vanzie started brightly and cut his opponent in the first round, although Newall also had some success with counter attacks in a pretty even opening session.

Vanzie continued to force the pace in the second round and had Newall on the back foot throughout and at one point the referee looked as though he was on the verge of stopping the contest.

Newall survived but Vanzie also won the third and final round to claim a majority decision and progress to the quarter-finals against Pontone.

Few could have predicted the way in which Vanzie dealt with The Army contender to book his place in the northern semi-finals.

The southern semi-final is between Joshua Buatsi (South Norwood and Victory) and Ricky Crotty (Hoddesdon).

It is the second successive year that Vanzie has reached the Senior ABA semi-finals.

He fell at the same hurdle last year when he was defeated by Peter Bebbington of Macclesfield in Newcastle when fighting out of Keith Tate’s Cleckheaton Boxing Academy.

The KBW man will be looking to go one better when he meets Laing in Liverpool next month as he aims to become the first Dewsbury boxer since Gary Sykes defeated Michael Robinson in 2005 to win a Senior ABA title.