WALCOT’S Jimmy McDonagh won an exciting schoolboy semi-final in Portsmouth at the weekend to reach his first national final, writes DAVE VEYSEY.

The 14-year-old met Noah Stanley from the Hoddesdon Boxing Academy in a Class 3 (44kgs) match which proved to be one of the best bouts of the day.

From the outset both boxers attacked with straight shots, and there was little to choose between them after the opening two minutes.

However, the middle round saw McDonagh’s straight rights and uppercuts increasingly find their target, and he delivered several telling blows during this session.

Throughout the final two minutes both boxers stood toe-to-toe to land their shots, but again it was the Walcot boxer who held the edge.

After a pulsating contest which enthralled the packed crowd, McDonagh was awarded a unanimous points victory.

He was understandably delighted afterwards, saying: “I am over the moon to have made the national final. Stanley was a tough kid but I was determined to win today.

“My older brothers Tommy and Patrick have both won the schools championships in the past and I want to emulate them.”

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for clubmates Said Eltuyev and Kieran O’Donoghue.

Last season’s champion Eltuyev, 14, lost a close one to two-time champion Francie Doherty, also from Hoddesdon Boxing Academy.

This Class 3 (46kgs) contest turned into a chess match, with both champions respecting the skills of the other.

Few scoring shots were landed during an equal first two minutes, with Doherty’s gameplan being to run away from Said’s advances and then attempt to score with a counterpunch.

This was the theme for the remainder of the contest, with Doherty running and Eltuyev chasing him around the ring.

At the final bell the Walcot boxer appeared to have edged the bout, but to the dismay of the Walcot camp it was Doherty’s arm that was raised by the referee for a majority points success.

Another Walcot 14-year-old, Kieran O’Donoghue also lost out to a majority points decision.

He encountered Michael Price from the Pinewood Star ABC in a battle of two talented teenagers.

Price, last year’s losing finalist, was slightly quicker to the punch during the early part of the contest, with the Dorcan schoolboy coming on strong in the latter stages.

O’Donoghue gave his all but it was Price’s arm that was raised at the end of an exciting three rounds.

Walcot chief coach Harry Scott said afterwards: “I am so pleased that Jimmy has reached his first national final.

“We hope he can now go on and become the champion. Said and Kieran were both a little unlucky to lose out in very close contests, but they are talented boys and their day will come.”