LUKE Crowcroft produced the best possible reaction to a narrow defeat in last year’s Junior ABA Championship final – by going one better 12 months later.
The Scawthorpe amateur fighter capped a superb year with a 12-7 win over Tyler Neejat last weekend to capture the 80kg crown.
It was a seventh straight win for Crowcroft who also won the Clubs For Young People title.
But it was far from easy for the 16-year-old, who felt the tide was against him in the final in Kent.
He said: “The pressure was on before I got in the ring because it seemed like all the close decisions were going towards the southern lads.
“I knew I needed a good performance just to make sure I’d got the judges attention.
“I went out there and worked my jab well and seemed to be in control.
“But when I came back to the corner it was 3-3 at the end of the first round and 6-5 down at the end of the second.
“It was really frustrating but I went out there and really went for it.
“We had a clash of heads early on and it opened a cut on him.
“I just targeted that and took full control, picking him apart.”
Crowcroft - who started boxing when he was eight - puts his recent success down to his switch to Mexborough gym Ernie Oxer School of Boxing.
He said: “I’ve knuckled down over this last year and got on with my boxing but the training I’ve been having with Paul and Mark Durose has been brilliant.
“It’s top quality coaching that’s really suited my style and allowed me to develop.
“I got a really good grounding and base to work from with Eddie King at the Youth Inclusion Programme where I was before.
“Without those three I could never have gone this far and I’m thankful to them all.”
The former Ridgewood School pupil will now receive an automatic call up to the England squad for the forthcoming Three Nations Championship.
And he is determined not to let his England vest go.
He said: “I really want to establish myself in the England set up and get as many caps as I can.
“My target is to retain the two titles I’ve won this season and become an England regular.
“I’m really looking forward to the international tournaments because it’s another step up.”
Crowcroft has garnered a lot of attention over the past year, particularly from former Conisbrough pro Stefy Bull who operates his professional gym alongside the amateur Ernie Oxer outfit.
Bull is determined to snap him up for the professional ranks as soon as he turns 18.
But Crowcroft is adopting a wait-and-see approach to his future career path.
He said: “I know Stefy would like to sign me up but it’ll be a fair while before he can.
“I’m just going to see what happens, especially as I start having senior fights next year.
“If I do well with England and there’s the chance of the Commonwealth Games or something like that, I wouldn’t like to pass that up.”