TWO Torrington teenagers relished the opportunity to perform at an historic boxing venue for the first time.
Joe Tarrant and Ade Smith-Jones made it a memorable occasion for Torrington Police ABC at Bideford Pannier Market on Saturday night.
Proudly wearing the green vest of the emerging club, the 15-year-olds made their moment count with battling victories.
As the amateur scene in North Devon continues to thrive, Bideford ABC were keen to highlight the talents of young boxers from across the area.
With members of the host club, Barnstaple, Combe Martin and Torrington impressing in the 13 bouts, it was mission accomplished.
Wildlife presenter Johnny Kingdom was a guest of honour and will have particularly enjoyed the clash between Tarrant and Barnstaple's Brandon Maddock.
Like two stags on Exmoor, the North Devon rivals went head to head in uncompromising style.
Ever the competitor, Maddock was willing to stand and trade as both boys had spells on the front foot, throwing punches in flurries.
There was nothing to separate them until Tarrant sneaked ahead in the third round, landing two cracking right hooks in a unanimous win.
Only a few points made the difference and a rematch has been agreed for the Barnstaple Pannier Market show on June 2.
Smith-Jones boxed with composure for his majority win against Rob Latham-Willows, of Torpoint and Rame.
Holding a high guard, he stepped in on numerous occasions to score with left-jab, right-hook combinations.
Having only started training this year, Smith-Jones has improved dramatically since making his competitive debut last month.
For the home fans, there were victories to savour for three of their most experienced seniors – Ben Owen, Ray Penfold and Soane Coysh
A measured approach was the key for Penfold and Owen, who both displayed technical skills in their unanimous results.
After a cagey opening spell, Penfold rocked Kyle Gargett with a forceful right hand towards the end of the second round.
The visitor from the Pilgrims club in Plymouth remained cautious but gradually his defences were unpicked.
With a drop of the shoulder, Penfold began the fourth and final round by landing another stealthy right hook to the head.
Gargett was unable to offer much in reply as Penfold moved smartly and maintained a tight guard.
Ever the showman, Owen took on Dan Daws with familiar feigns and low slung hands.
He proved too elusive for a Yeovil opponent who was caught on numerous occasions by fast, straight lefts to the head. Coolness and composure gave Owen the edge.
For Coysh it was a war of attrition over four rounds against Christian Spangle, of the Mayflower club in Plymouth.
The pair refused to let their energy levels drop in a strength-sapping contest notable for the intensity of the shot-making.
And Coysh showed his stamina down the stretch, taking a majority decision thanks to his relentless work ethic.
In the junior ranks, Soane's young cousin Charlie Coysh proudly celebrated his first win for Bideford.
A month after losing narrowly against Bodmin's Mark Meadon in Cornwall, he turned the tables in a rousing rematch.
Kye Cook impressed with his ringcraft after Aaron Robinson started at a thunderous tempo. Cook rode out the early storm, blocking many of the Lympstone boxer's two-handed attacks before replying with the more measured punches. It was enough for a majority win for the Bideford boy.
A split decision went the wrong way for Chey Saunders but the home boxer can take heart from his performance against Tobias Hacker.
Round two was one of the highlights of the night, with Saunders keeping up the pace and Hacker responding with body shots that left his rival needing a standing count.
All the action between Bideford's Billy Parsons and Bradley Axe, of Yeovil, was confined to three explosive minutes.
After a rip-roaring first round, Parsons was caught by three powerful right hooks early in the second. He was given a count and, when Axe attacked again, the referee stopped the contest.
The evening came to a painful and premature end for home heavyweight Jamie Creek who suffered a dislocated shoulder in his heavyweight bout with Matt Leslie, of Downend.