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Boxers pay tribute to Ron as 10-bell salute rings out

400 fight fans pack into hotel for emotional evening dedicated to man who helped set up Islington Boxing Club

11 May, 2018 — By Steve Barnett

Boxers at the Royal National Hotel pay tribute to Ron Hagland

BOXERS bowed their heads in the centre of the ring as a 10-bell salute sounded on Friday to remember a man who helped set up one of the best boxing clubs in the country.

More than 400 fight fans packed the Royal National Hotel, in Russell Square, as Islington Boxing Club hosted an emotional evening of boxing in memory of founder member Ron Hagland.

In setting up the club, formerly based in King’s Cross but now in Upper Holloway, Mr Hagland helped change the lives of thousands of young­sters across the capital.

There was no better way to pay tribute to the man than by holding a 10-bout showcase of the sport he so dearly loved.

Before the action got underway the traditional 10-bell salute rang out for Mr Hagland, who died in March at the age of 86, followed by a minute’s applause.

Mr Hagland with grandson Reggie and son Lenny

Among the top performers on the night was Jason Mallia, who, fighting at 70kg, gained a unanimous points victory over Essex University’s Reese Wade with a skilful showing that would later earn him the “Best Home Boxer of the Night” award.

Islington Boxing Club team-mate Masood Abdullah also gained a unanimous win in his 62kg contest – beating West Ham Boys ABC’s Fahad Salum, the same opponent he overcame to capture the London title earlier this year.

The hosts continued to chalk up victories, with Connor Daly, fighting at 52kg, beating Robert Casswell, from St Mary’s ABC, via a unanimous decision, while Sunni Torgman recovered from a tough start to win her 58kg bout against Essex University’s Sheena Nobilli, courtesy of a split decision.

Islington’s Jason Mallia, ‘Best Home Boxer of the Night’

Islington Boxing Club’s youngest winner of the night was George Bartlett, 14, who used his jab to good effect to defeat Chelmsford ABC’s James Mason. The unanimous win in the 48kg clash means that Bartlett has now recorded two wins from his first two contests.

In the senior ranks, Islington’s Kevin Agbodzah took on Jack Hales from Bletchley ABC. Both welterweights went into the showdown boasting 100 per cent records, but at the sound of the final bell it was Agbodzah who was still smiling as his arm was triumphantly raised in victory.

The show featured the first brother and sister combo fighting on the same bill. Cherise and Lewis Barone-Whelan showed signs of promise despite losing their respective bouts against Anastacia Butler, from Kent Gloves, and Desham Fearon, from All Stars ABC.

There were also narrow defeats for Islington’s Harry Betteridge and Chris Cunningham. Betteridge lost via a split decision against Kian Hales, from Aylesbury ABC, while Cunningham lost to a unanimous decision favouring Stonebridge ABC’s Andre Dascalu, winner of the “Best Away Boxer of the Night” award.

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