PADDY Fitzpatrick has reason to be optimistic about the future after three of his younger fighters impressed at the weekend.

Marshall Meacock, Arnold Johnson and Kyle Baines all fought – with Johnson and Baines coming out on top against their opponents while Meacock slipped to a narrow defeat by decision.

Barnstaple, Devon, was the venue for both Meacock and Johnson on Saturday – with Meacock taking to the ring for the only his second time.

The 15-year-old, who won his first fight, landed several right uppercut and body shots in the third round. However it wasn’t enough for him to avoid defeat.

Johnson meanwhile dominated his opponent, stopping him in the third round following two standing counts.

Fitzpatrick said: “Marshall (Meacock) has got a lovely tall style and works well inside for a tall lad. The first round was close, and Marshall adjusted his right hand in the second.

“He landed the right uppercut and left shots to the body well in the third – I thought he did enough in the third round alone to win the bout.

“He dominated the third round, but that’s the way things go in boxing.

“Arnold (Johnson) has a compact, tidy and tight style. His hero is Mike Tyson, he’ll kick his feet every time he gets into the ring.

“He put on an excellent performance, and was a bit too strong for his opponent. I was concerned he was delivering too many shots.

“It was his second fight in two weeks, and it was nice to get some momentum going.”

Meanwhile Kyle Baines fought on Sunday at the National Championships in the open category, following his success in the same competition as a novice last year.

The 16-year-old has even caught the eye of star fighters Luke ‘Duke’ Watkins and Ryan Martin, who will both fight on the 19-bout Fight Town I card at the Oasis Leisure Centre on April 27.

“He was national champion at novices’ level last year, this year he went into the open tournament which is contested by boxers with 20 or 30 fights under their belt,” said Fitzpatrick.

“He had to fight the whole way through, he didn’t get any byes. His performance in the semi-final was fantastic, it was a beautiful display of boxing, distance and combination boxing.

“Duke (Luke Watkins) and Ryan (Martin) asked how he got on, and I explained to them how strong his work was – swapping from southpaw to orthodox.

“He didn’t make a mistake, and is now national champion two years in a row.”