ANYONE visiting St Joseph’s Boxing gym in Newport in recent weeks will have noticed the sense of determination and purpose from the masses of boxers in attendance.

The Welsh Amateur Boxing Association recently held the elite championships in Cardiff with a record number of entries from all over the country.

St Joseph’s entered nine boxers into the junior, youth, and senior elite categories with an unprecedented seven coming out victorious.

The elite senior finals saw three in action after an opponent for St Joseph’s fourth senior elite flyweight Saad Abdullah failed to compete.

First up at 60kg was Axel Hegarty, a member of the elite Welsh squad. Hegarty’s movement and general ring craft proved too much for fellow Newportonian Zack Hickman of the Somerton Rascals club with Hegarty winning on a comfortable unanimous decision.

Fellow elite Welsh squad member Orlando Sotomi, competing at 75kg, also displayed excellent ring craft and patience against an extremely rugged and tough marauding boxer, Joe Evans of the Newtown Club.

Sotomi didn’t get drawn into the slugfest that Evans was trying to create, patiently waiting for Evans to charge in and countering with an excellent back hand.

This tactic resulted in two standing counts for Evans before the referee finally called a halt to proceedings in round two.

The biggest cheer of the night was saved for 86kg boxer Louie Walters, who initially only joined St Joseph’s in 2021 in an attempt to lose weight and get fit.

Lose weight he did, a whopping six and a half stones (42kg).

After winning the novice finals earlier this year, Walters was competing in the senior championships in only his ninth contest.

Walters was up against seasoned campaigner Jack Mounter of the Pontyclun Club.

From the first round it was Walters’ textbook left jab and jolting straight right hand that set the tone of the bout and he achieved champion status on a well-deserved unanimous decision.

The following day’s proceedings saw only four of the five entries compete due to the opponent of the club’s only female entry, Shay Jenkins (60kg), failing to compete.

However, two of the remaining four, Reon Wright (46kg) and Gabriel Hegarty (44kg), produced excellent performances with both winning the coveted Welsh vest.

St Joseph’s club benefactor Mark Sawkins said: “This is a remarkable achievement by the whole club, I have witnessed first-hand the time, effort and attention to detail that has taken place by both boxers and club coaches alike and their success is just rewards.”

The gym has no time to sit back on their laurels as preparations are in full swing for the St Joseph’s schoolboys, who will also compete for the Welsh title in May.

The successful youth champions will represent Wales in a Tri Nations tournament in Cardiff and the senior champions will travel to Scotland in June.

For more information about training times at the gym go to St Joseph’s Facebook page or contact Roger Williams on 07884463444.