Plymouth has a new boxing champion after 'masterclass' win

Plymouth has a new Western Counties champion after senior light heavyweight Ryan Gaffney captured the belt with a ‘masterclass’ performance in a show at Bideford last weekend.

Mayflower Amateur Boxing Club prospect Gaffney, 22, defeated Bideford’s Alex Dovell over three three-minute rounds to capture the amateur title in only his 11th bout. The Western Counties title bout – in the 75-80kg division – was top of a 14-fight card hosted by Bideford ABC, with three other Mayflower boxers also stepping into the ring to compete.

There were wins for Emily Palmer and Raphael Ahmed, but a defeat for Harvey Roberts at Senior Light Middleweight. Mayflower coaches Steven White, brother Chris Adaway and Eric Sprangle have all overseen the quartet in their build-up – bringing their considerable experience to bear. White and Adaway have both had professional careers, with the latter having had a 91-fight career in the paid ranks.

White said that Gaffney was facing a gulf in experience compared to opponent Dovell, but put on a masterclass to take the decision. He said: “It was a massive gap in experience: Ryan Gaffney it was his 11th fight and he came up against a guy who’d had 33 bouts or something like that. So it was a massive step up for him but he boxed a blinder – he boxed so well.”

White added: “He [Gaffney] boxed beautifully on the back foot, countering his opponent as he came in, and then pushed him back when he needed to,” he said. "He defended really well, had head movement, everything – it was a boxing masterclass.”

But Gaffney cannot afford to rest, as he is already facing a challenge this weekend. “He’s already got a challenge for it this weekend,” said White. “Now that he has got it I told him he would have a target on his back and he has got a challenge for it in Yeovil this Saturday. He is going to be busy I reckon. It’s someone who he has faced before and lost in a split decision, but hopefully he can pull it off this time.”

White said that Gaffney also has ambitions to join the professional ranks, but would not be rushed into it. “He is going to do another four or five years in the amateurs,” he said. “He’s got ambitions of doing well in the Novice championships in October, then probably the year after hopefully go into the ABAs and place somewhere, and then when has got a bit more experience he would like to be in the professional game as well.”

It was a successful night overall for Mayflower with Palmer getting the verdict against Chloe Palmer, and Ahmed making her bow in a clash against Ebony Webber, which she also won.

White said: “Raph Ahmed – and it was her first amateur boxing bout, and she was up against a girl who was on her 10th bout, but although she gave a gulf of experience away she really turned it on and did a job on her. Harvey Roberts did well in a competitive bout, but just got caught a bit too often and lost in a unanimous decision – but they all did really well, and that one loss is not too bad.”