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Magnificent seven aiming high for Highland Boxing Academy at National Championship

By Andrew Henderson

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Highland Boxing Academy returns to the National Development Championships this weekend with a strong of seven athletes vying for titles.

Broken into different classes, this week sees the start of the C, D and E classes of the championships for slightly more experienced boxers.

Entrants in the C class must have between seven and 10 bouts on their record, and HBA will be represented there by Brodie Zineldin (75kg youth), Cole Fraser (63.5kg elite) and Andrew Mclaughlan (80kg).

The D class is the next step up in terms of experience, for athletes with between 11 and 15 bouts – with another HBA trio entering in Joe Kinsella (71kg elite), Robert Stewart (52kg junior) and Golden Gloves champion Lindsay Fulton (54kg elite, competing at 57kg).

The most experienced band at the championships is the E class, for fighters who have had between 16 and 20 bouts.

There, Lewis Urquhart (57kg elite) is HBA’s only representative.

Club head coach Liam Foy believes every athlete has a chance of taking a title back up to the Highlands, and says the club as a whole benefits from the experience former champions – including some members of this weekend's squad – bring to the gym.

"From that squad of seven, Robert has just joined us and this will be his first attempt to win a title at the club, but the other six have all won titles – some of them multiple titles," Foy explained.

"Not only is it a big squad, but it's a big squad full of good pedigree with boxers who have won different titles and done well over the years. The competition will be fierce down there, I've looked at the entry list and all of their categories will be highly competitive, but we've got a great squad full of talent with a proven track record, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"The gym is bursting with talent. We've obviously got the likes of Ben Bartlett, but Lewis recently won the Northern District title to add to the multiple titles he had already won, Lindsay won the Golden Gloves last year, there's that sort of experience so it's bound to rub off on people.

"I remind them of that sometimes. We have some super talented novices that aren't eligible for these categories – people like Rio Peden, Josh Burnside and Maria Cameron – and I remind them from time to time how lucky they are to have such a wealth of talent in the gym alongside them. They get great sparring and training partners, so they can't take it for granted.

"There's good momentum in the squad, and a good buzz and energy about them all. There's also a massive appetite, which is really important. Everyone has their own motivation and goals, but there is a massive appetite in the gym to succeed and bring titles back up north.

"Everyone is going to be looking at our boxers within their division and know we are going to provide highly competitive opposition as well, so it will be a great experience for them all.

"Preparation has been brilliant, and training has been consistent – even over Christmas, this group had a good timetable, and they have kicked on from that. We are in a great position with them all, so I'm looking forward to it."

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