MEMBERS of a boxing club have made a successful return to the ring in Dumbarton for their first competition since the start of the pandemic.

Antonine Boxing Club members headed to Dumbarton FC just before Christmas to compete in their first home show with two boxers representing areas in Dumbarton and the Vale.

Proud coach James Hilton said that the boys have been training hard in the run up to this event.

James told the Reporter: “The club started off in the Antonine Centre before we needed to find our own space, and are now in a brilliant gym put together by the members in Clydebank.

“We moved to the gym in January 2020 before we had to close down due to the pandemic. We continued our sessions through Zoom and outdoors before we were allowed back in the gym.

“This is also our first competitive season, affiliated to Boxing Scotland under Sports Scotland.

“It was great to be permitted to host a home show just before the Christmas break. Dumbarton FC’s hospitality suite was a great venue for the show. We had 12 bouts and one exhibition on the night.”

To start the night off two beginner boxers Curtis Bartley and Jack McCrae put on an exhibition in the ring, showing off their excellent skills.

In the third round Aidan Madden, from Alexandria, started well in his ring debut pushing the light heavyweight back to the ropes throughout the first round.

As is often the way in the heavier divisions, one punch can often change the course of the bout. Aidan got stunned with a big overhand right. Into the second round it became clear that Aidan had not fully recovered from the earlier punch so the referee stopped the bout early.

However, he is already back in the gym looking forward to his next challenge.

Towards the end of the competition Neil Eaddie, representing Balloch, entered the ring for his bout in which he put on a punch perfect boxing display, with his slick southpaw style he peppered his opponent with stiff straight punches throughout. His slick footwork and hit and ‘don’t get hit’ technique allowed the judges to give him a unanimous decision.

James added: “The boxers have stuck with us through the turmoil of lockdown and then the uncertainty of what has followed.

“The coaches and committee members all give their time freely week in week out, so being able to host a show and the end of this two year rollercoaster made us all immensely proud.”

For more information or to join search for Antonine Boxing on Facebook.