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It's the final countdown for title fighters

Staffordshire | Sport | Published:

Black Country fighters will reach their judgement day when they box for national titles in the England Development Championship finals this weekend.

A month-plus long campaign to progress from the first area phase to the decider culminates at the Grantham Meres Leisure Centre,

writes Craig Birch.

Ryan Cotterell, Hosea Stewart and Coree Clarke, plus Kelly Hickinbottom on the female side of proceedings, are now one fight away from glory.

Semi-final ties at the Doncaster Dome last weekend settled the field for the finals, which take place over two days on Saturday and Sunday.

One of two sections features the juniors, all entrants of between two to 10 bouts of experience, separated into two age ranges. Class A is for boxers born in 2001, while Class B is for 2000.

Josh Jeavons, from Priory Park Boxing Club in Dudley, was forced to forfeit his position his position at 70kg in Class A before the last four clashes, after breaking his hand.

Ruby Scott, from the Right Stuff in Stafford, came into her 57kg Class A girls semi fresh after a series of byes, but was outpointed by unanimous decision to Aston's Nimco Ali.

Cotterell will bring a national title home to Wolverhampton Boxing Club if he can beat Carter Osborne, from Brighton & Hove, at 80kg in Class B on Sunday.

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He kept his challenge alive with a unanimous victory over James Ling, of Empire in Bristol, in Doncaster with former junior ABA champion Richard Carter in his corner.

The seniors, for boxers aged 17 and upwards, is divided into two classes by experience. Class A is for 2-10 bouts, with Class B 11-20 contests

Firewalker's Hosea Stewart with his supporters after victory at the Doncaster Dome last weekend.

Hosea Stewart, from Firewalker in Wolverhampton, is closing in on success with his confidence growing after a storied run at 91kg plus in Class A.

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The big super heavyweight has won every bout unanimously so far and will become a national champion if he can do the same to Aaron Palmer-Cenac, from West Ham in London, on Sunday.

Wolverhampton's Clayton Bricknell, who now represents the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, went down by TKO in the semis at 64kg in Class B.

Bricknell was the victim of a first round stoppage against Doncaster's Joshua Padley, who hurt him with a left hook to the body and returned with another flurry to force the referee's intervention.

Warley's Clarke, now a senior after reaching a national final and winning the gold medal at the Three Nations as a Youth fighter, arrived with a bang in the 91kg heavyweight division.

Clarke, taking part in his first contest of this year's tournament, halted opponent Mark Burke, from Perth Green in South Tyneside, with seconds left on the cards.

His place in the final looked nailed on from when he dropped Burke with an overhand right to the temple in the first, but his opponent gamely battled on.

There was no escape when Burke was poleaxed again by a left hook to the head, handing Clarke victory early. He now has Jack Bannister, from Baker Street in Gloucester, on Saturday.

In the female seniors, Priory Park's Paige Dudley withdrew from her 64kg semi in Class A after coming down with tonsillitis.

Walsall Wood's Hickinbottom comes into the competition for a straight final at 57kg against Oxford University's Izra Hale on Saturday.

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