COACH Sarah Lee revealed her pride after Redditch Boxing Academy prospect Leo Fanthome reached the quarter-finals of the England Boxing national competition.
The 19-year-old Stratford College student had previously won the Midlands Finals title with an impressive victory over Stratford’s Will Foley in the 60-64kg B Class category (10-20 fights’ experience).
This secured a pre-quarters fight against a 32-year-old in Bedworth, which Fanthome won with a unanimous decision, to book a national quarter-final against reigning national champion Levi Kinsiona of Steel City ABC, Sheffield.
Despite a superb performance against a highly talented 21-year-old, Fanthome was beaten in a unanimous decision, but his coaches Darren Long and Lee are thrilled by his progress.
“Darren and I are humbled by Leo’s efforts in this competition. Even when Leo was beaten, we didn’t feel defeated, because the nature of his display was so good,” said Lee.
“This is only the start of a great journey, the next stage of which is the King of the Ring competition in Sweden in late November.”
Fanthome’s pre-quarters victory in Bedworth was an exciting one as he boxed smartly against a strong and experienced fighter, showing clever rolls and movements despite finding difficulty in getting his punches through against a wily campaigner.
This set up the national last eight bout in Bridlington which Lee described as the toughest contest in Fanthome’s boxing career so far.
“Leo hunted his man down all fight and boxed really well. He went toe to toe with the national champion, who never really wanted to engage,” added Lee.
“However, it was like catching smoke. Kinsiona was very slick and is clearly a very talented boxer who I’d expect will win the national title again.
“Leo’s performance was incredible though. Everyone at Redditch Boxing Academy is very proud of him.”
Light welterweight Fanthome has been boxing since the age of 12 and, with help and support from his parents and from college sport lecturer Enrique Cardenas, a keen boxing fan, he manages the difficult task of juggling training with his college studies.
Lee is in no doubt Fanthome will continue to grow as a competitive boxer.
“Leo is a credit to the sport and without fail shows dedication, commitment and focus in everything he does,” she added.
“Boxing is one of the hardest sports to compete in due to the level of competition, yet he never lets us or himself down.
“He gives 100 per cent in everything he does and is a role model for other young boxers. I am proud to call him our own.”