Pro setback, but KBW star Vanzie remains focused

AMATEUR sensation Ashley Vanzie admits last month’s “devastating” defeat has hindered his plans to turn professional.

The 25-year-old, who fights out of Dewsbury’s KBW Combat & Fitness Gym, punched his way past a bag full of opponents to make the final of the 2013 National Senior ABA Championships.

But illness prevented Vanzie from fully training for his clash with Cambridgeshire opponent Ricky Crotty, who claimed a narrow 3-2 victory to clinch the light-heavyweight crown in Sunderland.

Vanzie had been suffering with a chest infection, which ultimately prevented him from major progression in the sport.

He told The Press: “I was really unwell and I had barely trained during the days leading up to the bout.

“Everyone knew I wasn’t up to scratch and three rounds in I could barely breathe. Heart kept me going in there but I was just throwing shots left, right and centre.

“I had nothing left to give – the defeat has really hurt my pride.

“The plan was to win the ABA title, possibly box for England or Great Britain and then turn professional.

“But timing is a huge thing for me and I feel I still have work to do as an amateur. I have not achieved what I set out to achieve.

“I have a great team around me at KBW and hopefully one day I will go into professional boxing with the gym and Martin Bateson, my trainer, right behind me.

“In 12 months’ time, if nothing develops internationally, then I could well be at that level.

“But if I am going to make that leap then I want to be a champion so finding the right promoter will be vital.”

Adding insult to Vanzie’s injury, Crotty has since been selected to represent England.

Though the 81kg star has vowed to bounce back, starting tomorrow as he bids to reclaim his Yorkshire Challenge belt (Saturday).

“I totally expected to win the final,” added the brother of former British and Commonwealth pro champion Bobbie Vanzie.

“Ricky is a good fighter, but he is very one dimensional. He has strength, but not much else.

“Saying that there is still plenty for me to work on and that begins now.

“I am fighting Will Simpson this weekend, someone I have beaten before, and I want to come back with a bang.

“I have to put the disappointment of April behind me and battle on towards bigger and better things.”

Vanzie will do battle with Harrogate’s Simpson at Halifax Police Boxing Club, with action getting underway at 8pm.

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