By Richard Hook
Brighton middleweight boxer Archie Hutchins has won the Amateur Boxing Association National Championship.
The 17-year-old earned the title with a 27-20 points win on Sunday (22 May), rewarding his work on the Advanced Apprenticeship for Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme at City College Brighton and Hove.
He said: “It’s always been my aim this year to win the Junior ABAs and now I’ve achieved it.
“The game plan worked perfectly and I’m proud to say I’m national champ.”
After the triumph in Rochester, Kent, his coach at City College, Adam Haniver, said that he was delighted with the victory.
He described it as the biggest in the history of the programme, which runs at the Wilson Avenue campus in Whitehawk.
“Archie really deserved this win for all the effort he’s put in since he joined us.
“He’s the first boxer from any of the [eight] AASE programmes nationwide to win a title.
“This just backs up what we’re trying to achieve with the programme and shows it’s possible to win titles and get good qualifications at the same time.”
Hutchins, who comes from Tadley in Hampshire, won four tough fights on his way to the final in which he faced John Newell, from Manchester.
The hardest was his opening Southern Counties bout against Max Wickes, of Moulescoomb ABC.
He battled through on points before beating Connor James, of Hove ABC, with a second round knockout to claim the area title.
Haniver said that Hutchins had grown in confidence with every fight and become more clinical as evidenced by his national semi-final against Wiltshire-based Kane Jones, of Penhill ABC.
Hutchins won with a crushing left hook in the first round.
In the final Hutchins faced a much taller opponent in Newell.
He employed perfect tactics, cutting off the ring and using his movement to pepper his opponent with left hooks and right jabs.
He dominated the opening two rounds, defending well and connecting with several nice hooks on the counter.
Newell fought back in the third and got through some jabs.
But Hutchins stepped up a gear in the fourth, wounding his bigger opponent with a series of body shots.
Haniver said: “It looked tighter on the scorecard than it actually was.
“I thought Archie was the clear-cut winner.”
With the title in the bag, Haniver believes that the next step for Hutchins is to establish himself as a regular in the Team GB squad.
Haniver said: “He’s got the perfect style for Team GB.
“With the point-scoring system at Olympic level, Archie’s has got the right technique as well as the right mental attitude to be able to execute a game plan.”
The focus for the programme now turns to recruiting more future champions in the next intake.
Haniver said that his goal was “to make CCBH synonymous with elite boxing”.
*Richard Hook also writes for Brighton Lite