Danny Quartermaine narrowly failed in his bid to claim the English 60kg title, with the Cleary’s boxer losing on a split decision to Heckmondwike-based champion Cory O’Regan at the Irish Centre in Birmingham.
Quartermaine, who was roared on by an army of 150 supporters, threw an incredible number of punches at close range and controlled the action well.
A sickening clash of heads in the first round left him with a swollen left eye which got worse as the bout progressed.
Undaunted, he pinned the champion, who at 20 is two years older than Quartermaine, on the ropes for sustained periods, landing some crisp body shots.
However, O’Regan who boxes for Bradford Police and Community College, showed his class by tucking up and countering well on the back foot to get the decision.
Despite the defeat, coach Edwin Cleary said Quartermaine could take heart from coming so close to upsetting the much more experienced O’Regan.
“I couldn’t pick a winner,” said Cleary.
“Danny will take much from this stellar showing. Not only pushing England’s best to a flip-of-a-coin decision but doing so with his lead eye closed for most of the bout.
“Danny had to box much of the bout in a southpaw stance to protect his left eye and, credit where credit is due, against one of England’s best that took some doing.”
Next up for the Cleary’s boxer will be a shot at the Central England Elite Open Lightweight Belt held by Owen O’Leary (Bell Green).
The bout takes place on March 5 and will give Quartermaine another chance to catch the eye of the England ABA.
“Danny’s been a senior for only six weeks and being told on Sunday he’s now in the top ten is a fantastic achievement for Danny and the gym,” said Cleary.
“He’s now at the top of England boxing and he’s finding his feet. The best is yet to come.”
Fellow teenager Lewis Williams can underline his potential this weekend when he fights in the Youth Championships in Rotherham.
The heavyweight will need to win three bouts in as many days to claim the crown but Cleary believes he has the ability to succeed.
“It’s going to take not only fitness and boxing ability but mental strength and character to win this season’s championships.
“I believe Lewis is more than capable of pulling it off.
“Knowing Lewis, he will take this weekend as a challenge and that’s the characters part.
“He’s super fit and very strong and will take some stopping.
“I believe he’s got the character to win this and push on and become something very, very special.”
This weekend also marks the start of the Junior Championships with fellow Cleary’s boxers Morgan Ansell and Josh Finch entering at the Warwickshire round.