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Royal Navy boxers take title of UK Armed Forces Champions

23 March 2018
The Royal Navy boxing team has fought its way to the top of the sport out of the three Services after beating the Army for the first time in 34 years.

Royal Navy boxers take title of UK Armed Forces ChampionsEight Royal Navy boxers competed in the respective weight categories against the RAF and Army at the UK Armed Forces Boxing Championships in Aldershot last night.

This was the first major competition of the season with the Navy team's sole aim to end the three decades of deadlock by the Army fighters.

Chief Petty Officer Chris Smith, the Royal Navy Boxing Team's Head Coach, said: "I'm just overwhelmed. The last couple of months have been a long road, we've had our ups and downs with the squad but we've come through all of that and built confidence and a great training package. We knew it was going to be tough today by fighting the Army in their back yard but we did it and we are absolutely ecstatic.

"The RAF were also a class act tonight, they don't get full time training like we do but they came and performed tonight and hopefully they will be back next year. It is just a massive thing for UK Armed Forces boxing as a whole. We're going to celebrate now and then it's back into training for the National Elite finals which are next and we'll be back in Aldershot to train for that with the Army."

Having won this tournament, the team now qualify to attend the National Elite Championship in London where there is the opportunity of being selected for the national squad.

We knew it was going to be tough today by fighting the Army in their back yard but we did it and we are absolutely ecstatic

Chief Petty Officer Chris Smith, Royal Navy Boxing Team Head Coach

Within the Navy team are a number of boxers who hold English title belts as well as Southern Counties and Southern Area belts.

Portsmouth's own Royal Marine Jack Stringer was crowned Armed Forces Champion in 2017 and is an English title belt holder at Middleweight, whilst Portsmouth born Able Seaman Robbie Mathews is an England Amateur Boxing Association finalist.

AB Diver Robbie Mathews beat Gunner Ryan Fillingham from the Royal Artillery in the Light Welterweight. He said: "I feel really good, it was my third time fighting Ryan and it was 1-1 going into it so it was always going to be a close battle. I was confident going in tonight thought.

"Training has been really good this time around for us, we had a new coach come in and the training and nutrition packages meant that I got my weight down, which I always struggle with and that motivation made me want to train even harder. It was always going to be a hard fight and it was three rounds of really hard work but luckily I took it on the night.

"We came into this knowing we could win but then the RAF came in and got two wins which just tore up the script a little bit so it meant it was pretty tense towards the end."

The National Elite Championships pre-quarters will be held on the 7 April, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals all taking place on the 22 April in London.

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