Ferry Street Boxing Club trainer Mel Payne has tipped young protégé Joe Manning for schoolboy glory this year.
Payne firmly believes that Manning, 13, can go one better and win a National Schoolboy ABA title after losing to Kings Heath ABC fighter Benjamin Vaughan in last year’s final.
Boxing at 46kgs, Manning began the long road to schoolboy glory by defeating Brentwood’s Finlay Mowatt in the Eastern Counties semi-finals on Saturday.
And tomorrow he steps back into the ring again, where he will face Lowestoft’s Cameron Wade in the Eastern Counties final.
Payne said: “On his day I firmly believe that Joe is the best fighter in the country at his age and weight.
“All he needs to do is gain a little bit more self-belief. He doubts himself a little, but we are always telling Joe how good he is.
“There’s very little to choose between any of the fighters and there is a fine line between winning and losing, but Joe is very good.
“We are always getting other clubs ringing up and saying that they want their fighters to spar against Joe, which shows how good he is.”
If successful against Wade, at Sudbury tomorrow, Manning will potentially be just two fights away from making the National finals for the second successive year.
Laying in wait for the victorious fighter will be a match-up against the Home Counties champion.
Manning was a comfortable points winner against Mowatt, an opponent who had won ten of his previous 11 contests, and trainer Payne said: “Joe boxed out of his skin.
“He boxed very well and picked his opponent off almost at will.”
Any youngsters looking to follow in the footsteps of Manning can do so by training alongside him at Ferry Street youth classes.
The sessions are held at Ferry Street’s home base of Heros Gym on Tuesday and Thursday evenings between 6.30 and 7.30pm.
Anyone interested in finding out more about the youth sessions, or what else is on offer at Heros Gym, should call 01553 761474.
n Former Ferry Street boxer Charlie Smith, who is training at Heros Gym, is set to make his professional debut.
The heavyweight, who is now under the wing of Norwich trainer Graham Everett, is due to fight on a show on Saturday, March 9.