NORTH Devon boxers came back from weekend action with two Western Counties titles under their belts – one each for the Barnstaple and Bideford clubs.

Barnstaple Boxing Club's Patrick Morton got the weekend off to a blistering start at Exeter Corn Exchange with a display of dominant boxing against the home club's Mike Ballard.

He used his height and reach advantage to full effect, backing his opponent up with sharp jabs and full-blooded rights to cruise into the lead at the end of the first round.

The Barum boxer continued to force the pace in the second and after two incessant attacks the referee stepped in with a standing count, by which time the Exeter corner men had seen enough and retired their man.

The decisive win takes Morton's tally to five wins from six bouts.

Clubmate Liam Laird was entered in the Clubs for Young People championships for the first time at Broadplain, Bristol, on Sunday.

Contesting the 57 to 60 kgs class, he found himself in a four-way tie that included group favourite Cory Westbrook of Tivereton for the first of what was to be two bouts on the day.

Westbrook came out strong, looking to land big shots in this clash of southpaw boxers, but Laird was equal to the challenge, absorbing most of the strong left hands on his tight guard and returning like for like.

The second saw Laird taking the initiative and scoring with fast combinations. The growing confidence of the Barnstaple boxer made sure that he kept up a high pace and outscored and outworked his opponent. He continued the pressure as Westbrook began to fade and the final bell brought a unanamous points win for Laird and a place in the Western Counties final.

The final came within the hour and although still tired from his first contest, Laird started well against Ben Demmery of Downend ABC boxer, scoring with good combinations from the first bell.

Laird continued to dominate proceedings and two powerful lefts found the mark at the end of the second round, forcing Demmery to take a standing eight count. Quickly to the mark in the third, Laird landed more left powershots and the referee stepped in to stop the bout, giving Laird the Western Counties championship crown.

Laird now joins clubmate Harry Sugars for a Southern Counties quarter-final at Gosport on October 27th.

SECOND TITLE FOR RICKY

Ricky Dymond of Bideford ABC successfully defended his Western Counties title for the second consecutive year.

He had to work hard for it, with fights in the same day.

In his first fight against James Miller of Mayflower ABC, Dymond was busy behind a fast jab and fast footwork, avoiding his opponent's big counter punches and landing fast combinations to leave him with a blooded nose in the second round.

The Bideford boxer finished strongly, using his long reach to pick Miller off and gain a unanimous victory.

His second bout against Jake Demmery of Downend ABC saw Dymond start and force his opponent to take cover on the ropes. The second round proved a battle of wits, with both lads trying to counter each other, but Dymond proved too, fast landing lots of straight scoring punches. Dymond proved the fitter in the final round, pushing his opponent around the ring and continually landing left crosses as he moved to a unanimous points victory.

Ray Penfold also fought for a Western Counties title with two bouts the same day.

He won his first against Paignton ABC boxer LLoyd Barwood, winning all three rounds and forcing his opponent to take a standing count in the second after a big right cross that left Barwood on the deck.

Penfold's second bout against Jomel Cabilogan from Downend ABC saw the Bideford boxer pick off his opponent with fast hands in the first round. Cabilogan began to wear Penfold down in the second as they began to trade punches and after both lads gave their all in the last, Cabilogan was given the majority decision.

On another show in HMS Drake on Thursday, Bideford's Alex Ride celebrated his first contest by winning all three rounds against Ryan Slayne of Carls in Plymouth.

On Friday night, Jake Hatch of Bideford fought in the national novice championships and despite a majority points verdict against him.