Carlisle Villa ABC pick up four wins from their home show on Friday evening.

Carlisle Villa ABC picked up four wins from eight contested bouts on their home show on Friday evening – while a further three boxers took part in non-scoring skills bouts on the 14 bout card.

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Owen Neale, Paul Johnston and Josh Barton claimed unanimous wins at the club’s second show of the season at a packed Crown & Mitre Hotel, while Lewis Hand picked up a split decision against Paulo Tolentino (Northallerton ABC). Pete Houten was unlucky to be on the wrong end of a split decision against Alan Shepley (Moss Side Champs Camp) as most of the home crowd thought he had done enough to get the nod in a humdinger of a contest. Brothers Carl and Darren Howe both gave an excellent account of themselves but both went down to split decisions against Ivan Kulbakov (Ambleside and Windermere) and Francis Bayogun (Moss Side Champs Camp) in two excellently fought contests.

Saul Winthrop let his nerves get the better of him and never got going, losing his bout to Cameron Gibley (Shildon ABC) by a unanimous decision. All three boxers competed well and whetted the appetite of a near sell-out crowd, prior to the scoring bouts.

Neale got the Villa off to a good start with a well-earned win against Ben Wood (Coastal ABC, Lancaster). Owen landed the cleaner shots in the opening round to take control of the contest early on, and he continued to work well for the remainder of the bout to take a convincing points win.

Hand, 14, was up next for the Carlisle club and was looking to avenge a defeat he suffered to Paulo Tolentino (Northallerton ABC) on his home show earlier in the season. Lewis was on the front foot from the first bell but got caught by some clever counters from the stylish southpaw. Neither boxer took full control of the first round but Tolentino just about shaded it.

From the opening bell of the second round, Lewis pressed again this time landing more shots, although Tolentino still came back and landed with clean counters. The volume of shots thrown by Lewis gave him the upper hand as the round came to a close. The Carlisle Villa fighter came up for the third and tried to work behind his jab but a lot were falling short and again cleverly countered by Tolentino.

However, Lewis pushed forward and forced the Yorkshire Junior cadet champion onto the ropes where he worked his combinations. The young Villa boxer was pushing hard to the bell and, although not landing cleanly, was doing enough to stop the stylish Tolentino to reply with his counter punching. Lewis took the bout on a split decision.

Senior boxer Paul Johnston was hoping to continue his winning run against Steven Nelson (Larkhall ABC) in a 64kg contest. Nelson came out swinging from the first bell but Johnston held his hands high and defended the opening 30 seconds well. Roared on by the home support, Johnston began to land his long jab and followed this up with right hands that kept the shorter Scotsman at bay for the remainder of the round. Villa’s Johnston continued to utilise his longer reach, keeping Nelson at distance for the best part of the second round. Nelson did have a little success when Johnston stopped working his jab, landing a couple of right hands. But the Carlisle Villa boxer was landing crisp right hands which forced a standing eight count just before the bell sounded. Johnston was well on top and pushed again in the third round, which seemed to knock the fight out of Nelson who could barely hold his hands up to defend himself. After two unanswered back hands, referee Alvin Finch stepped in to issue another standing eight count. Johnston finished the bout with some classy punches to take the bout by a unanimous decision.

Villa debutant Josh Barton was matched against Lewis Dixon (Maryport ABC) who came to Carlisle with plenty of support. Josh was on the front foot from the first bell but Dixon confidently countered anything that came his way, giving the travelling support lots to cheer about. He entered the final 30 seconds with the round in the balance but he caught Dixon with a straight backhand to the head, which gave him confidence to push forward with a number of shots to take the first round. Josh continued pushing Dixon back with sharp one and two punches, although the west Cumbrian lad kept replying with solid shots of his own. It was midway through the second that Josh gained control and it looked as if Dixon was tiring. Josh continued to land some quality shots but, just before the bell, Dixon caught Josh with another solid left, right combination that brought a cheer from the travelling fans. Both boxers came out for the last with the intension of pushing their opposing number back but neither gave way and both stood toe to toe in a cracking last round that saw the crowd on its feet. The decision went to the Villa boxer who had done more than enough in the previous two rounds to take the bout by a unanimously on all three judges’ scorecards.

A good crowd pleasing bout brought the evening to a conclusion with Carl Howe and Ivan Kulbakov (Ambleside and Windermere) standing toe to toe at the final bell. Kulbakov got the nod on a split decision, having done enough in the opening two rounds. Wigton ABC female schoolgirl boxer Lexi Dixon also featured in the home corner, taking part in her first skills contest against Monae Hetherington-Smith (JR Gym).

The evening’s award winners were as follows:

Best Schoolboy – Owen Neale

Best Junior – Lewis Hand

Best Senior - Paul Johnston

Best Bout of the evening – Peter Houten v Alan Shepley