THE Sydney suburb of Punchbowl was perhaps an ideal location last Friday as two up and coming Eurobodalla boxers impressed a packed house at the Croatian Club.
Malua Bay’s Dean Maddison and Moruya teenager Blake Donnelly won their respective amateur bouts, both by points decision, on what was an entertaining fight night.
Donnelly, 17, was the first to step into the ring and, after a tense first round, he went on to dominate his more experienced opponent, who almost ended up on the canvas in the dying seconds.
“I got the win and I had a fair bit of fun so it all went pretty well,” Donnelly said yesterday.
Asked whether he was nervous before the bout, Donnelly said the occasion took over and he was more focused than anything.
“I was nervous for a while but once I started warming up and heard the music and everything, I started to loosen up,” he said.
Friday’s fight was just Donnelly’s second in his short career, which began back in April at Kings Cross – a bout the 17-year-old also won by the judges’ decision.
Despite winning comfortably last week with a controlled display of speed and skill, Donnelly admitted he wasn’t sure if he had done enough when the final bell rang.
“It’s hard to tell when you’re in the ring, so I had to ask my coaches,” he said.
“But when (my coaches) told me that I went well, I was pretty happy and then when the judge lifted my arm, it was great.
“The first round was fairly even, but in the second and third I was ahead on the scorecard.”
Greg Howlett, who was in the youngster’s corner for the fight, said it was an emphatic display.
“Blake dominated his fight from start to finish using his superior fitness to out-manoeuvre and out-punch his opponent,” Howlett said.
“Several times, Blake had his opponent back into his corner and was delivering power punches.”
After the second fight of the night it was Maddison’s turn to take the spotlight as he defeated Jackson Sobb with another convincing points decision.
“Dean out-skilled his opponent with the use of footwork and technical punching,” Howlett said of Maddison, who also competes in Muay Thai kick-boxing.
“He is so humble and under stated but has great courage and heart and that’s what led him to victory.”
Both fighters compete in the 69kg welterweight division, train up to seven times a week at the old Broulee Fire Shed and are coached by Brad Neil, Mark Neil and Richard “Dicko” Fafie.
“They’ve been with me since day one and they’re always teaching me new things,” Donnelly said.
“They‘re top coaches and we’re very thankful because they don’t charge us any money.”
Donnelly said he was “not too sure” when his next fight would be, but insisted he “definitely” has plans to step into the ring again in 2013.