HEBDEN Bridge Boxing Club, founded by Clayton “Cass” Varey in January this year, is enjoying a run of impressive victories, writes Nick Rice.
Representing the club last Friday, Luke Keliher received huge applause from the crowd at the Bradford City FC venue after defeating Eastburn ABC contender Robert Adamson.
The victory was a well-deserved lift for Keliher, who suffered sharp disappointment a week earlier when he was unable to fight for the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) Yorkshire title.
Keliher weighed in for the fight at 66.8 kilos, just shy of the 68 kilo minimum, missing out on the title bid.
Arriving at the correct weight for his fight against Adamson, Keliher displayed formidable technical ability and speed to secure the win.
Adamson’s long reach kept Keliher’s damaging inside work at bay early in the first round, but Keliher soon found holes in his opponent’s defence, picking his punches and landing shots repeatedly.
Keliher, of Halifax, kept up the pace and early in the second round the referee gave Adamson a standing count.
Keliher’s blows proved relentless and midway through the second the referee stepped in to give Adamson a second standing count, before quickly deciding he was unfit to continue.
Hebden Bridge Boxing Club owner and head coach Clayton Varey said: “Luke put on a great show for the club.
“He dug in deep and broke the Eastburn boxer’s heart with some heavy body and head shots.”
The victory came just two days after a memorable night for the young but fast developing club, when 22-year-old stablemate Rico Hutton won his first contest in a remarkable evening of amateur boxing held at the Bradford Cedar Court Hotel.
‘Fighting at 85 kilos, Hutton faced 25-year-old Ben Chapman from Cleckheaton Boxing Club, also embarking on his first bout, and the two earned their place at the top of the bill with an outstanding display of grit and courage.
From the opening bell the fight was action-packed, Chapman landing a straight right cross on Hutton within seconds, buckling the younger man’s legs.
Hutton soon recovered and battled hard, both fighters enduring heavy shots across three incredible two-minute rounds that saw the referee make a total of five standing counts.
In the final round Hutton found stride and strategy, regularly connecting with solid left hooks and piercing right crosses, the referee finally stopping the fight within seconds of the final bell, making Hutton the winner by technical knockout.
There was certainly no shame in defeat for Chapman and the audience roared their appreciation in a standing ovation for both fighters, a fitting culmination to a superb night of amateur boxing.
On the experience of his first fight, Hutton said: “I was overwhelmed with the size of the crowd and I didn’t know what to expect, then when the bell rang the adrenalin just took over.”
Club owner Varey said: “It was a typical first fight in that both contestants did their own thing, but it turned out right. It was absolutely brilliant.”
One of several talents at the Hebden Bridge Boxing Club, Hutton’s next contest is on December 1 while club colleague Joe Kidder was fighting at the Ashton Albion boxing Club on Friday, November 25.