Premiere Amateur Boxing at its bestMonday, September 20, 2010, 15:38
by Kris Mintoff.
The Grand Hotel Excelsior was host to the premiere Amateur Boxing Event of 2010, being organized by I & J Fitness Team of Mosta, in conjunction with the Malta Boxing Federation. A team of English boxers and officials, most of them from Crawley Amateur Boxing Club, visited our shores to participate in this event. They boxed a selection of local boys from the Mosta Club, St Julian’s Amateur Boxing Club and Dione Boxing Club of Cospicua.
The event kicked off with 3 exhibition bouts. Roland Sammut of Mosta tested his skills against Ozayar Baigh in the first bout. Next between the ropes were two Maltese boxers from I &J, Norbert Farrugia and Joe Spiteri Shaw, who gave an excellent display of boxing. We then witnessed an all foreign bout between Dale Smith and Darryl Barber.
The exhibition bouts proved to be a real warm-up for the 300 spectators present at the show,however the real excitement was yet to start. The first competitive bout saw Zac Farrugia boxing George Chapman. The Maltese youngster is the only local boxer in our history to have won a medal on foreign soil. He boxed brilliantly, and anyone present could notice his skill, speed and explosive offence, however Chapman just edged him slightly on the day, to win the bout on points.
Next up was Joseph Camilleri, who pulled one back for Malta by beating John Swift fair and square. Camilleri, had only a couple of bouts under his belt, but he faced his opponent with the necessary confidence and composure. After settling down he started to show his superiority, landing more shots than his opponent did, which really had the crowd on its feet. In the end Camilleri was awarded the win by Majority Decision. Though not as technical as the prior bout, this was the most exciting bout of the evening.
It was Etienne Spiteri’s turn to step into the ring. The boxer from Dione Boxing Club faced off Will Kear, in what proved to be a tough test for the Maltese lad. Spiteri looked shaky at the start, with Kear dictating the action. However, as the bout progressed, Spiteri began evading and slipping his opponent’s shots, showing great defensive ability, while countering with his own artillery of punches. In the end the decision went Spiteri’s way, turning the advantage Malta’s way.
After this we witnessed another boxer from Dione Boxing Club, Clayton Vella, taking on John Snape. This was a great night for Dione, whose boxers won all of their bouts. This club is producing skilful boxers from the south of the island. Vella boxed diligently throughout the bout, outworking his opponent. In the end the Maltese lad got the third victory for the Maltese Selection and the second one for his Club.
It was Mark Anastasi’s turn to box Edward Harradine. Both boxers possess the grit and determination to compensate for what they lack in skill. For Anastasi this was a Rocky-type of bout, since he managed to recover from a very shaky start by landing some heavy artillery on his tough opponent, snatching the victory with an all out effort at the end of the bout. This bout was another crowd pleaser and it mathematically awarded the Maltese Selection the win for this event.
The last bout for the evening which was supposed to be the main attraction, proved to be a little bit of an anti-climax. Malta’s premier Amateur Boxer, Haithem Lamouz faced Scott Gladwin in a technical and defensive bout. It lacked excitement, though Gladwin did attack Lamouz, and the latter had his moments too. The Maltese landed some beautiful body shots and close quarter combinations, but apart from that, the boxers were so close to each other throughout that they both lacked space for manoevers. A tactically defensive encounter which was awarded to Lamouz, who in the end was slightly the better of the two.
These bouts were officiated by Amabile Camilleri, as well as Rees and Pete Hopcraft. Judges for the evening were Joe Grech, Johann Chetcuti and Kris Mintoff. Charlie Cardona was Master of Ceremonies. Sponsors for this event were Alencia Jewellers, Camland Ltd, Extra Time Mosta, Flicks, Gasan Mamo Insurance, Havana Night Club P’Ville, Sara Grech, Spotless, TeamSport, Tip Top, Ultimate Nutrition and Vassallo Joiners.