Blackpool's Sharpstyle boxers crowned European champions as glorious England team make history
Two members of Blackpool’s Sharpstyle Boxing Club won gold and helped England to finish top of the medals table at the European Championships in Georgia.
Andy Abrol, proud head coach of the Sharpstyle club on Bagot Street, told The Gazette: “It’s the first time in the history of north-west boxing that two boxers from this region have won gold in the Europeans.”
Alice dominated her category, beating Valeriia Telpis of Ukraine in the final on a unanimous decision.
Thomas faced a tough task against the local favourite Murad Tagievi in the final. The Georgian had most of the crowd behind him but Thomas adapted well, deservedly completing his run of four victories with a 3-2 split decision .
These were two of the nine golds won by the England team (five by girls and four by boys), who also clinched two silvers and three bronzes to complete their best medal tally in any tournament.
This saw England finish top of the overall medal table, ahead of hosts Georgia and Ukraine.
The England girls finished top, with the boys second to Georgia, despite losing top medal prospect Emmanuel Buttigieg of Newham to injury.
Fourteen medals shared among a squad of 18 was an outstanding achievement and England performance coach Mick Driscoll said: “They showed themselves to be an absolutely fantastic team, who all bought into the idea of being part of Team England and having pride in representing their country.
“Eight of the team were competing a year young, including four of the five girls who won gold, so it bodes very well for when they box in this tournament again next year.
“Having the boxers’ coaches and parents there working with us has made a big diference. Everyone across the board has been unified in trying to help England Boxing and it’s great to see.
“It just underlines what a strong club system we have. They worked closely with England and showed what being a team is all about.
“Once again we have shown we are one of the strongest boxing nations in the world, and we’re looking to build on this and get even stronger.
“We got out there in Georgia three days in advance to get our preparations right. The key to their success was the way everyone came together in four weeks of preparations to create that team ethos.”
Of the golden duo from Sharpstyle, Driscoll added: “Everyone was talking about Alice becuse she was amazing and won her bouts so convincingly.
“Thomas knew he was going to be up against it in the final, taking on the Georgian favourite, but he stayed in the pocket, changed up his angles really well and no-one could argue he deserved to win. He was so impressive in his four victories.”