THE NABGC Championship Class C and D finals were held at the Cresta Court Hotel in Altrincham on Sunday (December 1) and the majority of the crowd came to see the welterweight clash between Hassan Azim and Jimmy Sains.Azim (Pinewood Starr) won a desperately tight 3-2 split decision that divided opinion among ringsiders. So close was the bout, every round could have gone either way.

Sains (Repton) gave the impression he finished the bout in control, boxing the final 90 seconds or so with his hands dangling by his sides. He did pick off Azim with some clean punches in that spell, but then Azim had started the round better. That’s how close this bout was.

The Londoner, an impressive stoppage winner in the semi-finals, was the quicker to settle. He landed jabs down and up and until the final minute or so of the opening round, Azim loaded up and mostly missed. Azim started to find his range in the last minute, but as was the case in every round, it was difficult to decide who landed more punches.

The second was also very tight with Azim landing rights over the top early before Sains started to out jab him – if only just.

The referee spoke to both before the final round and again, there was only a punch or two between them. For me, Azim did enough in the second and third to get the decision.

Triumph southpaw Bradley Goldsmith dominated on his way to the under-75kgs title. Goldsmith launched his bid for back-to-back NABGC titles with three first-round stoppages before a unanimous points win in the semi finals.

Goldsmith also won the final unanimously, proving too strong for Sonny Parkinson (Hillcrest).

As he did in the semi-finals seven days earlier, Goldsmith, beaten on a split by Mark Dickinson in last season’s Elite championship, kept his head on his opponent’s chest from first bell to last and won clearly.

At super-heavyweight, Mitchell Barton, who represented Scotland at last year’s Commonwealth Games and toppled Courtney Bennett in the Elites last season after swapping four counts with the No 1 seed, wasn’t at his best against Islington novice Odera Okwousa. Barton (Henry’s) tired a bit after putting a lot into trying to get rid of the Londoner early, but still had enough left in the tank to win unanimously.

The result of the light-heavyweight final has to be considered an upset, Alex Pattison (Gemini) beating Omar Augustine (Earlsfield) on a technical points decision after a head clash ruled out the Liverpudlian.

Last season, Augustine won the championship with victory over Aaron Bowen, who’s gone on to win Elite and Tri Nations honours, and at the opening bell, he tore into Pattison, launching hooks to body and head.

Pattison toughed it out and in the second, he started to make Augustine miss and land counters.

For three of the judges, Pattison landed enough in that second round and the opening two minutes of the last to overturn Augustine’s lead.

In the pick of the female action, Angelica Finch (Boston) was a split points winner over Repton’s Maisey Courtney, now up at 57kgs.

In Class C, Josh Martin (South Staffs) made amends for losing a split in last season’s final by outpointing Dimitry Shittu (Five Star) at 81kgs. Martin was on the front foot throughout and gave Shittu a standing count in the second on the way to a split verdict.

Jensen Todd was finally crowned national champion at the Class A finals in Bridlingon, outpointing Steve Gilheany (Barton Hill) at 63kgs. Boxing in his third national final, Todd (Bell Green) won a unanimous decision that was fair.

Gilheany was tall, rangy and switched stances, but Todd found the answers. The compact Coventry teenager kept him under pressure with his front foot, pecking away with single jabs, rights and counters when the gaps appeared, before really finding his rhythm towards the end of the second.

Todd slipped or leaned back from everything Gilheany threw at him for the last 30 seconds or so and every time he missed, Gilheany was punished with sharp counters.

Gilheany did have his moments earlier in the second when he unloaded flurries and with the bout possibly up for grabs going into the last it was Todd who finished the stronger. The 15-year-old was able to back Gilheany up with jabs and unload combinations.

Asare leads the way for Lane seniors, writes Daniel Herbert

WHITE Hart Lane staged an open show at their Wood Green base on November 16, when they managed 19 bouts and eight wins, including all three elite specials over the three-threes distance. Mitchell Asare put a count on Beau Jefferies (Small Holdings) with a right in round one, but then had to settle for a unanimous victory in a gruelling light-welter affair.

Switch-hitting welter Sam Mason likewise made Harley Levene take a standing eight in round two but allowed the gutsy Fishersgate boxer back into the bout and in the end won only via split.

Also triumphing at welterweight was Jurell Da Costa Green, whose opponent Michael Chalkey (Billericay) was counted on in round two and then withdrawn before the last with a swollen eye.