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Royal Marines retain boxing title after thriller

1 May 2019
ROYAL Marines fought back from the brink of defeat to retain the coveted Zeebrugge Trophy after a thrilling boxing competition against the United States Marine Corp (USMC). 

It was 5-3 to the USMC after the first eight bouts at a packed-out Barber Hall at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, USA, and the Royal Marines knew they could not afford any further defeats in the final two showdowns.

Marine Joseph Leddington secured a split decision win over Corporal Oubigee Jones to make it 5-4 and then it was all down to Marine Matthew Fenwick to grab a victory which would see the Royal Marines take the trophy home. 

“As I was about to walk to the ring, my coach said to me ‘it’s all on you Fenners, so no pressure’,” said Mne Fenwick.

 “The atmosphere was amazing, the noise from the crowd got me so motivated I knew I was going to get the knockout in the first round.”  

After two minutes and 15 seconds of the first round, Mne Fenwick let rip with a right hook, left hook combination to the head and dropped his opponent, Corporal Keandre Blackshire, to his knees.

Despite beating the count, the referee deemed Cpl Blackshire unable to continue and the Royal Marines could celebrate retaining the Zeebrugge Trophy. After winning it on home turf last year, the 5-5 draw here was enough to keep the silverware (a team must win it outright to prise it away from the holder).

For the second time in two days, Colonel William Bailey had to begrudgingly hand over a trophy to the Royal Marines after presenting the visiting Brits with the Virginia Gauntlet Trophy.

The commandos had to dig deep to make their comeback to seal the Zeebrugge Trophy for a second year running.

After losing the first two bouts, it looked like the visitors would be handing over the silverware to the USMC.

As I was about to walk to the ring, my coach said to me ‘it’s all on you Fenners, so no pressure'

Marine Matthew Fenwick

Marine Taz Campbell and Marine Dan Ward stopped the rot, making it 2-2 on the night before the Royal Marines headed into the intermission 4-2 down.

Marine Matthew Garrett brought it back to 4-3 by defeating Corporal Jabrill Noel but the USMC came back strongly in bout eight. 

The slick skills of Corporal Felipe Ninofernandez secured a win for the USMC, taking the score to 5-3 with just two bouts to go.

The crowd kicked into action with a chant ‘Royal, Royal’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ and that raised it for the British. 

After Mne Leddington’s win, it was all down to Mne Fenwick against Cpl Blackshire. 

The bout started at a fast pace with both boxers taking the centre of the ring and trading punches from the opening bell.

The frantic pace could not sustain itself and after two minutes and 15 seconds of the first round, Mne Fenwick made his move. 

His combination had Cpl Blackshire on his knees and, after the referee deemed him unfit to continue, the Royal Marines claimed a huge victory. 

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