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Tournament of Argenteuil
“2012 MONTANA BELTS” Paris France 12-14 Apr 2012
A team from Antrim consisting of team manager/referee, Dee Orwin, coaches Cooper McClure and Seamus Martin and 6 boxers set off on Wed 11 Apr to Paris to contest the Montana Belts tournament, which is in its 8th year.
JD Meli Immaculata 56 KG
Mark O'Hara Holy Trinity 60 KG
Jamie Kennedy Toome 64 KG
Conrad Cummings Holy Trinity 75 KG
JP Delaney Immaculata 81 KG
The team was accommodated in Chaumontel which was 45 minutes from the venue. The draw and weigh-ins took place here. There were 7 other teams taking part and each weight division started at the quarter final stage 8 boxers. Three other weights for females was also contested. As each boxer was eliminated they got a prize.
City of Paris
Province of Paris
After the draw was made, Meli, O'Hara, Kennedy and Delaney were up against French opponents while McKenna faced a Swiss boxer and Cummings a German. All boxers competed on the first day although JP Delaneys opponent was pulled out so he went to the semi final. Stable mate JD Meli got us off to a flyer by beating last years champion 6-5 but you wouldn’t have argued if it went the other way.
Next up Mark O'Hara who was always in control and ran out victorious with 12-9 win, unfortunately aggravated a bicep injury and pulled out at the following days weigh-in.
Jamie Kennedy then took centre stage and was eventually overcome by local French boxer, he was very unlucky and the score was questionable! His opponent went on to win the belt.
Tyrone McKenna boxed out of the actual tournament against a boy from Switzerland, he got off to a slow start but got going in the 3rd and eventually out muscled his opponent.
Conrad Cummings had a bit of a torrid time, despite mounting numerous attacks it was the counter punching of his opponent that was attracting the scores and he lost 6-4 his German opponent was beaten in the final.
Day 2 seen Meli in the ring early and once again overcome his opponent out boxing, slipping, moving and ran out a comfortable winner 18-7. Next up JP Delaney against German Basar who had beaten a Frenchman the day before. Bit of a sparring match in the first round things pretty much even but the German upped his game in the second and coming to the end of it caught JP with a peach of a hook and he had to take a count, however JP weathered the storm and got to the corner 8-5 down. Into the third it was all to do and he nearly made it, JP played the waiting game and brought the German onto some cracking straight back handers easy to see for the judges but not quite enough and was piped in the end 12-11. His opponent was beaten in the final.
Day 3 the final seen JD up against another Frenchman who came through a tough hard punching semi. The venue had now changed and we were in downtown Paris in a theatre spectacularly set up with lights,TV, music and boxers got to do the long walk under spotlight into the ring.
Anthems, flag bearers and ring parade took place, all well co-ordinated and a memento presented to the delegates before boxing commenced.
Now down to business to win the belt. As expected the first round was all blazing with JD launching numerous clusters of attacks but once again it was the hooks out of the clinch that was scoring for the Frenchmen and JD was down 8-5 at the bell. The tactics were to keep the pressure on as it was noticeable the Frenchman started to blow after a while. The second started as it finished JD mounting attacks but the Frenchman was getting a breather as the headguard kept getting dislodged. However the pressure told and it was 10-10 going into the third, it was achievable, the momentum was with JD.
The French sensed that it may be starting to slip and he started back peddling but always dangerous with swinging counters the crowd were now roaring on JD he had found a few friends in the neutrals and so to the bell. It was an anxious wait, French boxer on home ground but victory went to JD 16-14. Celebrations all round even from the French.
Aside from the tournament there was an opportunity to use the local boxing gym to spar and train. Other bouts can be arranged at the coaches discretion during the event as there were a number of other matches made including females.
In summary this was a very demanding tournament, 3 long days, but at the right level for all our boxers, next time who knows some of those results can be reversed. The competition organisers and hosts were exceptionally hospitable. I felt throughout all the bouts the scoring was fair, in total as an official, I referred 14 bouts, 3 in the final and judged 33 contests.
A lot of contacts were made and invites extended, look forward to next year.
PS need to book access baggage for the belt! Its big!
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