CI boxers journey into Select history

Joe Patterson of Jersey Leonis Picture: BARNEY DE LA CLOCHE

TOMORROW marks a historic occasion for domestic boxing as Jersey and Guernsey join forces in a Channel Island Select team.

The 14-strong squad line up at Greenbank Sports Centre in Liverpool tomorrow against a selection of the best and brightest boxers from the Merseyside & Cheshire Amateur Boxing Association.

The squad is comprised of eight Caesarean and six Sarnian fighters, for a showcase event that is “the beginning of something great” within the local boxing scene.

Miguel Ferreira and Ben Duff of Jersey Leonis and Guernsey Amalgamated Boxing Club respectively have pioneered the idea and tomorrow is set to mark new beginnings for boxers from the two neighbouring islands.

“We have been trying to think for a long time at how best to provide opportunities for our local boxers,” said Ferreira.

“It is quite tricky for Jersey and Guernsey to get away individually. We have some really talented boxers across the two islands, but they don’t get the same chances to compete as often as boxers on the mainland.

“With a Channel Island team, we are able to pool together our best boxers and send an amalgamated group over to fight against clubs in the UK, which works far better logistically than if we were travelling separately.

“If they have got five boxers, for example, at a really high level and we have a similar number, we are able to pool together as one team and share the travel, which helps both of us.”

Jersey Leonis has an illustrious history dating back to their inception in 1924 and post-pandemic the relationships formed with mainland clubs have helped expose Caesarean pugilists to elite competition.

The club entertained a “Liverpool Select” team last October in a thrilling night of boxing across 11 separate bouts, in front of a sell-out crowd.

Despite Jersey winning only four of those 11 fights, the standard was exceptional and many of those individual battles “could have gone either way”, in Ferreira’s opinion.

He added: “It has been brilliant to form strong relationships with clubs in the UK.

“For our boxers to improve, we need to expose them to a higher standard of the sport.

“There are great links with Liverpool and also with a London Select team.

“We have the London team coming to Jersey on 24 February, and we aim to send a Channel Island team over for the reverse leg in May, with six boxers from each island.

“It is a really exciting time in local boxing and we are hopeful that the joint team will continue to provide avenues for our boxers to succeed and grow.”

The Channel Island Select team extended their gratitude to Structura Lending, who have provided the squad and coaching staff with team clothing for the event.

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