Larches fight duo set for national tilt

Bria Fielding, left, and Billie-Jean Franks with coach Dave Fitzgerald
Bria Fielding, left, and Billie-Jean Franks with coach Dave Fitzgerald
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Two young boxers from Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club are ready to step into the national spotlight this weekend.

Female fighters Billie-Jean Franks and Bria Fielding will be gunning for glory at the England Youth Championships, in Durham, which runs from Friday, to Sunday.

The pair booked their trip to the North East thanks to resounding victories in the North West Area Championships, in Walkden.

Franks was successful in the 51kg weight category, while Fielding emerged victorious at 60kg.

Both youngsters – who are aged 16 and interestingly share the same birthday – benefitted from sparring sessions with fellow club member and Preston’s world silver medallist Lisa Whiteside.

Their coach Dave Fitzgerald said: “Lisa helped them before the North West finals. She sparred with them – obviously Lisa held back a bit.

“But it was a great experience for them both – you can’t get much better than sparring with the world No.2.

“They both have bags of talent and we’re expecting big things from them. It’s great for the club.”

Fielding is part of the England youth squad and has only just returned from Serbia where she secured a bronze medal in the Nations Cup.

Another young boxer from the club has also served notice of his promising talent. Matt Patel enjoyed an impressive victory over Macclesfield’s Tom Munday, who was fighting on his home patch, in the 56kg youth category.

“It was a great win for Matt at the Macclesfield Show,” said Fitzgerald. “Out of all of them at the club, he is probably the most dedicated.”

Meanwhile, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald, who is Dave’s son, has a busy few weeks coming up. The Larches and Savick star is due to take part in the prestigious Strandja Cup in Bulgaria, which starts on Monday and runs until the following Sunday.

The international class competition will provide a serious test of the 23-year-old’s credentials as he will come up against some of the best amateur boxers in the world.

After that, he will then be heading off to compete in Cuba as part of the British Lionhearts squad.

The Team GB fighter is back to full fitness after recovering from the broken hand he suffered during his glorious victory at the Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow, last year.

His dad added: “Scott’s boxing really well in sparring. He’s turned into a man now – it’s a long time since the Commonwealth Games final. He looks really strong and right on the ball.”