In his long-awaited ring debut, Charlie Corbel, who is just 16 years old, at times looked brilliant as he overcame his talented, and more experienced, opponent Joshua Nsimba in a split decision.
The young Islander, who has just joined the senior ranks at Leonis from the juniors, showed composure well beyond his years and fantastic natural ability, including the ability to switch seamlessly between orthodox and southpaw stance, to the delight of a fired-up Jersey crowd.
He was among 11 high-octane performances from the Leonis team, who went toe-to-toe with the high-quality visitors in every bout, albeit losing out 7-4 on the night.
Leonis manager Miguel Ferreira said that his fighters put on a great show in the club’s first fight night since the start of the pandemic.
‘Everyone had a really great night and we were sold out. The boys did really well – we were fighting the top kids from London, who are used to fighting the top talent from a city of seven million people,’ he said.
‘We came out and won some, lost some but we were even with them in the fights. It was a great standard tonight and a great performance for Jersey.’
Ferreira said that Corbel has a ‘very bright future’ ahead if he continues on his current path.
‘He is so naturally talented,’ he said. ‘He’s a champion in the making. If he stays in the gym he has got such a bright future ahead of him.
‘The guy he was fighting had a little more experience than him and fights all the best kids in London, and Charlie came out and made him look average.
‘Calli Bushell, Tom Frame and Ricky Pryor, who are all trying to get into the Commonwealth Games, all did great too.’
In the first bout of the evening, Chris Blanchet took the fight to Amir Bourhfir with a string of long, straight punches, but the Londoner’s more precise punching saw him notch a unanimous points decision.
Keenan Panton made amends for Leonis in the next match-up, dropping Jack Barker to the floor with a stinging left hand in round two and forcing a withdrawal shortly afterwards.
The Londoners notched up another points victory in the third bout, with debutant Jack Quenault undone by Jake Jordan’s aggression and higher work-rate.
Corbel won the next bout for Jersey before Frank Quenault, Jack’s brother and another debutant, overpowered Abel Juami after stunning him with a brutal round-two left to score a split-decision win.
Quenault’s slugged out his victory, despite breaking his left hand in the second round, leaving him needing post-match surgery.
Ciaran Croke was then out-scored by Wiktor Szczawinski in an attritional contest, before Luca Frankson lost out to the elusive southpaw Sami Kafas.
The next three fights featured three Islanders hoping to fight at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Frame, in a typical display of his first-class boxing skills, out-thought and out-fought Mitchell Azare, picking his shots beautifully on his way to a split-decision win.
Next up, Pryor pressed forward relentlessly against Ellis Trowbridge, but was outmanoeuvred by the fleet-footed Londoner, who scored a unanimous points decision.
Bushell, in her first fight since giving birth to a boy, worked hard but opponent Samina Taussuants landed more meaningful punches to win the unanimous verdict of the judges.
In a cracking final bout, Harry Bertram was fired up after coming to the ring to face Jiyan Oguz to the music of local band Von Cassidy.
The Jerseyman came out swinging in a bruising bout and, despite a great third round, where he landed some good combinations, he was ultimately undone after taking a standing eight count courtesy of a flashing Oguz left in the second round.
Leanne Le Feuvre had her fight called off after her opponent withdrew with a groin strain.
‘I’m really upset for Leanne,’ said Ferreira. ‘She trained really hard for this, so it’s a real shame she couldn’t fight tonight.’
Results (Jersey fighters named first):
– Chris Blanchet lost to Amir Bourhfir on points unanimous
– Keenan Panton beat Jack Barker, who was withdrawn
– Jack Quenault lost to Jake Jordan on points unanimous
– Charlie Corbel beat Joshua Msimba on points split decision
– Frank Quenault beat Abel Juami on points split decision
– Ciaran Croke lost to Wiktor Szczawinski on points unanimous
– Luca Frankson lost to Sami Kafas on points unanimous
– Tom Frame beat Mitchell Asare on points split decision
– Ricky Pryor lost to Ellis Trowbridge on points unanimous
– Calli Bushell lost to Samina Taussuants on points unanimous
– Harry Bertram lost to Jiyan Oguz on points unanimous