Dream night for Jennings Gym in Manchester

Chorley's Jennings Gym had a night to remember at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
Mark Jeffers goes on the offensive against Ben Heap. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing.Mark Jeffers goes on the offensive against Ben Heap. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing.
Mark Jeffers goes on the offensive against Ben Heap. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom Boxing.

Michael and Dave Jennings saw both Mark Jeffers and Jack Arnfield pick up wins on the undercard of Anthony Crolla’s blockbuster unification world lightweight title bout against Jorge Linares.

Promising Chorley middleweight Jeffers was a points winner early on the undercard while Blackpool’s Arnfield picked up a career-best victory, seeing off Jack Ryder to win the WBA International middleweight title in the chief supporting contest.

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At 18, Jeffers was too good for a game Ben Heap over four rounds but while enjoying the big stage, the rising star knows he can do better.

He said: “It was a massive venue and I enjoyed it but it was a terrible performance.

“I never got it going tonight.

“I’ll have to watch it back from learn from it.

“It was just a bit flat tonight. The occasion didn’t have anything to do with it, it was just a bad performance.”

With the arena only just filling up as Jeffers entered the ring at 5.30pm his Chorley support made plenty of noise to liven things up.

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He said: “I had tremendous support again from Euxton and round Chorley and I’m buzzing about that.

“He was tough but me on a good night, I would have taken care of him a lot better.”

For Arnfield, 27, it was a breakthrough win as he dug deep to see off Londoner Ryder taking the spoils 115-114, 117-114, and a rather wide 118-110 on the three judges’ cards.

He may now defend the belt or he could be in line for a shot at the British title which is vacant after Chris Eubank Jnr decided to give up the title due to injury, leaving mandatory challenger Tommy Langford without an opponent.

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The contest was never a classic but it was major clash of styles – the tall, erect Arnfield against the smaller, southpaw Ryder, who came forward, trying to mix it inside in an attempt to nullify Arnfield’s major weapon, the jab.

Neither boxer was able to offload heavy shots – there was never a remote chance of a knockdown – and in the end it was Arnfield’s work with the jab that gained the day.

Arnfield said: “Ryder was strong and he let some good shots go, but I must have thrown 50 jabs a round in some of them and I nullified all his work.

“It was very close but I know I won.

“I have been boxing a long time now and had not really got to where I wanted to be at this stage of my career, so a win like this will lead to bigger and better things.

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“Tommy Langford has no opponent for his British title, so I will be looking at something like that straight away; if not then, I will push for it at a later date.

“I just want to move on through the British ranks.”

As well as Arnfield and Jeffers, the Jennings brothers also train Preston’s Commonwealth Games champion Scott Fitzgerald and Blackpool’s Cruiserweight ace Matty Askin in Coppull with the pro-am gym having been established around three years ago.

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