Injured Dupree left to wonder what could have been

ABA stars shine in semi-finals as Dagenham boxer targets return to action

The ABA semi-finals at Dagenham’s Park Community School on Saturday provided some top- class contests for the fans – but for one onlooker there was a sad feeling of what might have been.

Dagenham BC’s England international heavyweight Robin Dupree admitted his regret that he was not in the ring battling for national honours – especially when he recalled victories over two of the semi-finalists in action.

He claimed a stoppage win over Thames Valley’s Marley Churcher, who lost in the cruiserweight semi-final and a points success over Ben Ileyemi (Finchley), who won his heavyweight semi-final and now moves into the national finals at Colchester on May 13.

“I enjoyed watching the semi-finals, but I can’t help thinking I should have been in there,” said the Dagenham boxer.

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Unlucky Dupree has been ruled out of action this year with an arm injury, but is back in training and hopes to enter next month’s Haringey Boxe-Cup tournament at Alexandra Palace.

The shock of Saturday’s ABA semi- finals came in the outstanding middleweight contest, when Repton international Frank Buglioni, a strong title favourite, lost a close decision to 18-year-old Brentwood boxer John Dignum.

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The Repton boxer, who had moved through the earlier rounds of the national competition on a string of inside-the-distance victories, moved confidently into a seven-point lead as he dominated the early exchanges.

Dignum, a former junior star at Newham Boxing Club, slammed back in a thrilling third round to clinch victory by a tiny margin.

The judges’ scores had the pair level at 21-21, before a countback showed Dignum a 39-38 winner.

However, the powerful Bethnal Green club can still look forward to two boxers in the ABA finals, flyweight Charlie Hoy and lightweight Brett Beadon.

All-action Hoy was too busy for Isle of Thanet rival Edward Leach, as he recorded a 20-9 points victory in his semi-final.

While Beadon continued his classy form on the ABA trail, as he punished game Robbie Matthews (Heart of Portsmouth) in a one-sided clash, winning by 28-8.

Former Repton boxer Tom Baker, now campaigning in West Ham colours, aims to go one better than his final defeat in 2010 as he heads for Colchester next week.

His semi-final win came against Reading student Tamuka Muchapondwa, with Baker’s slick skills earning a 25-17 points win over a strong youngster.

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