Guildford City welterweight Mark Desmond was part of a team of eight amateur boxers representing the Southern Counties ABA against The Army last night in the Alexander Barracks gymnasium at the Army Training Centre in Pirbright. In the words of the Commanding Officer the annual event aims to “Introduce our recruits to the skilful art of amateur boxing, which will reinforce to them the Army’s core values of self discipline, physical fitness, courage & the ability to apply skills whilst under mental & physical stress.” The event which was matched by City’s John Edwards was well attended by over 550 spectators including new recruits & officers in full uniform as well as invited guests & friends of the barracks. City coach Ben Harmsworth who was coaching at regional representative level for the first time was “Impressed by the level of support given to both Army & Southern Counties boxers in an impressive show of sportsmanship & organisation”.
Making his debut for the Southern Counties 25 year old Cranleigh resident Desmond faced Army representative Pte Shaun Young from The Mercians Regiment over three two minute rounds. Young who has been training full time with the Army Boxing team has had twice as many bouts as the Guildford boxer & is a naturally bigger man dropping down to welterweight for the first time after previously campaigning at middle & light middleweight. The first round was a cagey affair during which Desmond boxing for only the second time since headguards were removed for senior amateurs received a cut above his right eye following an accidental head clash which later required four stitches. Desmond had a strong second round working well behind his jab & showing impressive in & out footwork before his rhythm was upset as the Dr was called to examine the cut. Proceedings were allowed to continue & coach Ben Harmsworth assisted by Southern Counties lead coach Matt Bell was able to stem the blood flow between rounds & send Desmond back out in to action. Both boxers upped their work rate in the third session sensing how close the judges cards would be & at the final bell it was difficult to pick a winner. Eventually the three Army & two Southern Counties judges gave the bout to Young by unanimous decision & both boxers left the ring to a raucous & well deserved standing ovation. Lead coach Matt Bell commented on Desmond’s performance saying “It was a very close bout & Mark gave us everything he had. We are very pleased with that.”
Also appearing on the bill Woking Boxing Club’s Nathan Grey lost a points decision to Pte Morrison from the RLC as The Southern Counties went down by six bouts to two.