BOXING: Far Cotton fighter Fail’s ready to shine on the world stage

Zara Aitchison and Johnny Fitzharris will be in action this weekend
Zara Aitchison and Johnny Fitzharris will be in action this weekend

Carl Fail aims to prove he’s one of the best welterweights in the world this weekend.

The 21-year-old heads to Kazakhstan to fight for British Lionhearts in the second leg of their World Series of Boxing semi final against Astana Arlans on Saturday.

Fail meets Aslanbek Shymbergenov over five rounds as the Lionhearts look to overturn a 3-2 deficit from the first leg and the Far Cotton southpaw says it promises to be the toughest fight yet.

He said: “He is one of the top Kazakh fighters, ranked in the top 10 in the world, but he has got a fight on his hands this week. I have watched a few videos of him and if I perform at my best, I will beat him. I have the style to beat him. I have to be switched on and take it round by round. I know this looks like my toughest fight yet, but I believe I can beat anyone in the world.”

Great Britain coach Richie Woodhall has said something similar, saying that if Fail boxes to his strengths, he will be unbeatable, and the East Hunsbury boxer heads to Kazakhstan in confident mood.

He returned from injury this year to win silver – it should have been gold – at the European under-22 championship in Romania and then made a winning World Series of Boxing debut.

Fail has been upgraded to the Podium squad in Sheffield ahead of the biggest year of his ring career.

“That means I’m one of the top dogs,” he said. “There’s me, Pat McCormack and Cyrus Pattinson on the Podium squad at 69kgs now.”

Fail has leapfrogged Pattinson into second spot behind McCormack, rated as one of the top talents in the Great Britain team in recent weeks.

Fail looks to keep the pressure on McCormack with a big performance in Kazakahstan ahead of the Olympic qualifying tournaments next year.

“That’s my target now,” he said. “This is a huge year for me and if I get an opportunity I will grab it.

“I was asked a few weeks ago what I thought of fighting in World Series of Boxing and I said: ‘I just want to fight.’

“The coaches were joking about me fighting up at 75kgs and I said: ‘If there’s a fight for me, I will take it.’

“I had a bad year with injuries in 2017 and I want to be busy this year and see what I’m capable of.”

Box Nation will be screening Fail’s fight. The show starts at 11.20am.

(by Matthew Bozeat)

Nathan Reeve believes he proved his point in Bedford last weekend.

The 28-year-old got the better of Khvicha Gigolashvili, earning a points win that furthered his bid to bag a title fight in the near future.

And former Far Cotton ABC amateur Reeve said: “I wanted to prove to everyone that I’m ready for title fights, and I think I’ve just done that.

“I’ve been working non-stop for a while now, so I’m going to have a little holiday, come back refreshed, and then start preparations for a big fight!

“I’ve got no official news yet from my manager, but he knows whatever title he can get me in for I’m game, so we’ll see what comes up.”

Kings Heath ABC fighter Johnny Fitzharris claimed a terrific win in this year’s Schoolboy semi-final.

Fitzharris emerged an impressive unanimous points winner against Daniel Sealeaf (Salisbury) at Doncaster Dome.

Stylish Fitzharris was once again conceding experience but, as in every round of this competition, he rose to the occasion and sealed victory with a dominant showing.

His will to win is combined with natural ability and that has seen him constantly excel as the competition has progressed.

Fitzharris now meets West Ham boxer Johnny Coyle in this Saturday’s final at Grantham Leisure Centre.

Fitzharris is joined in the showcase finals by Zara Aitchison, and both are looking for their first national title.

“The team, led by James Conway, have put a lot of time into these Championships and we are delighted to see two of our youngest boxers surpass expectations,” said Kings Heath head coach Arthur Daly.

“One more performance from both will seal our 57th national title over the years, and we are optimistic.

“Come what may, these young boxers can be proud of their achievements to date.”