Academy captain packs a punch at national event

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Worksop’s Xbox Boxing Academy captain and seasoned amateur Nicola Hopewell reached the semi-finals at the England Boxing National Elite Championships in Nottingham.

Hopewell, a previous development champion in 2016 and previous quarter finalist, went one better in reaching the last four.

Hopewell was drawn against Sawyer, from Merseyside, who had only previously lost twice.

The local fighter showed her opponent no respect with fast and furious combinations from the first bell to the last, cruising to a unanimous victory.

Next up for Hopewell was last year’s winner and Army and GB athlete boxer Torri Ellis.

Although the bout was far more competitive than last year, unfortunately the GB star had just that little bit too much for Hopewell, who was frustrated by the champion’s tactics.

Head coach Chris Boyle said: “We’ve set high standards this year by our display at this championship.

“And although disappointed with not getting to the final, I’m extremely pleased and super proud of my captain’s display.

“Nic is a model boxer and a perfect role model for my boxers at the gym.

“We are very excited as hopefully soon big news is on the horizon for her, so watch this space.”

Boyle was handed more joy a few days later when his own daughter and rising Xbox star, 11-year-old Lexie Boyle, travelling to away soil to get her first victory against a more experienced girl.

Boyle said: “This win is such a big moment for both Lex and me as her coach, but also her dad.”

Boyle revealed that his daughter had shrugged off a type 1 diabetes last year, to make an encouraging start in the sport.

“We’ve had a rough start, but my daughter’s fighting spirit is so evident and I was so happy with how she boxed,” he said.

“She showed quality movement and sharp fast punches to blast her way to victory! This was a very special performance by a young girl.”