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EUABC secure BUCS silverware

EUABC have enjoyed a remarkable year. Photo Credit: Edwin Yeung

Following their most successful season to date, read Liam Monsell’s report from the BUCS finals in Sheffield.

With Olufemi Fagbemi having already secured BUCS silver, EUABC had three boxers in the BUCS finals at Ponds Forge ISC in Sheffield. These were: Olga Zyuzina, Ike Ogbo and Ben Cartwright. The finals formed part of the BUCS nationals, a huge weekend full of university sport.

Zyuzina was first to compete, up against Mimi Lasarova of Oxford University.  She had trained hard and was ready, though it was clear that her Oxford opponent was the more aggressive boxer. She moved well but was too frequently on the receiving end of her opponent’s combinations for the first two rounds. The tide changed slightly in the third, with Zyuzina firing back at her opponent with hard shots of her own. Despite a late rally in the bout, she left it too late and dropped a unanimous points decision.

Olga Zyuzina is the first Exeter female boxer to reach a BUCS final: Photo Credit: Edwin Yeung
Olga Zyuzina is the first Exeter female boxer to reach a BUCS final: Photo Credit: Edwin Yeung

We always knew Zyuzina was going to have her work cut out against an experienced competitor. Her nerves seemingly got the better of her in the early rounds, draining her  energy but she showed her ability in the final round. Nonetheless to fight in a BUCS final in only her third bout is a brilliant achievement and she will have taken heaps of experience from it. She should be proud of her performance and undoubtedly will continue to improve for the rest of the year and moving forwards.

Next up was Cartwright, in the men’s Welterweight novice final against Tom Hodgkiss of Northumbria University. Again, Ben had a very tough opponent from Northumbria who was an aggressive southpaw. Neither boxer wanted to back down and refused to give up an inch. They were both landing shots frequently, but it just seemed to be the Northumbria boxer who was landing the cleaner and more telling shots.

Cartwright did threaten his opponent and occasionally looked like overpowering him but his opponent was skilful enough to avoid a successive onslaught. The unanimous points decision in the Northumbria boxer’s favour was a fair one, but Ben wore his heart on his sleeve and was never outclassed. He gave his all and unfortunately came up slightly short.

Ike Ogbo celebrating reaching the BUCS final in Sheffield. Photo Credit: Liam Monsell
Ike Ogbo celebrating reaching the BUCS final in Sheffield. Photo Credit: Liam Monsell

Exeter’s final chance of BUCS gold thus fell to Ike Ogbo, boxing in the men’s Heavyweight novice final against Southampton Solent. Ike relentlessly stalked his opponent, who wasn’t able to keep up with his pace, pressure or strength. His opponent was forced onto the back foot early on, and never really offered anything back at Ike that looked as if it could halt his forward march.

Ogbo kept the centre of the ring, cutting the ring down when he had to, he landed quick, punishing combinations repeatedly throughout the contest. The decision was never in any doubt and Ike walked away with the BUCS gold medal around his neck. It was a fully deserved victory and one that he has been working hard towards all year. He clearly has the talent to win even more medals in boxing and being in only his second year of a five year course, he could go on to dominate BUCS at his weight.

This was a stunning way to end a remarkable BUCS campaign for EUABC. To rise from BUCS obscurity two years ago and to now have nine boxers in BUCS and come away with four medals is remarkable. EUABC are now really beginning to get recognised on the university boxing scene, and if things carry on the way they are going then in the next few years they could be up there with the very best. At this rate of improvement, the overall team title can only be a few years away!

Find out how the rest of the team fared here in their BUCS campaigns here: http://exepose.com/bucs-boxing-qualifiers-round-up/

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