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Ashley Vanzie vanquishes world No 8 in 'dream weekend' in Ireland
Ashley Vanzie has the Olympics on his mind after grabbing a prestigious title in Ireland.
The Bradford-born light heavyweight, and younger brother of former British champion Bobby, is focusing his efforts on landing a prestigious one-two – victory in the ABAs and a ticket to Rio in 2016.
Cockahoop Vanzie is at the top of his game after winning the inaugural Celtic Box Cup in Dungarvan.
The 25-year-old feared he would not be allowed to compete because he thought ABAE red tape would prevent an Englishman from taking part.
He discovered the ban had been lifted only two days before it began – and then had to dash around to raise the money to get flights booked in time.
But Vanzie’s perseverance was rewarded when he won gold, beating the dangerous Dean Laing in the final on a unanimous verdict. He won every round and forced a standing eight count in the second.
His victory in the semi-final was even more impressive as Vanzie became the first boxer to beat home hot favourite Darren O’Neill in Ireland.
The Irish Olympic team captain and world number eight is rated so highly that the other five boxers scheduled to take part had all pulled out. But Vanzie held his nerve to take a split decision with some strong shots to the head and body in the final round.
“It was an absolute dream weekend,” he said. “A man approached me afterwards and told me ‘you have just made history by beating him here in Ireland’ – I was elated!
“I was slightly overwhelmed when I was also voted boxer of the tournament out of 300 fighters.
“To think, I very nearly didn’t go due to lack of funding.
“My eyes are set firmly on winning this year’s ABAs and on to the GB squad for Rio 2016.
“I’m looking for a sponsor to be part of the journey, who can help me with training costs and trips like the Celtic Box Cup so that I can continue to progress.”
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