Sunderland ABC schoolboy Joel Hassan may have crashed out of the Amateur Boxing Association Championships (ABA’s) in the quarterfinals but he is still upbeat about his future, and he has every right to be.
Benjamin Vaughan beat Joel on Sunday 10th February in the quarterfinal of the class 2, 46kg competition meaning Sunderland’s young warrior has gone out of the prestigious competition at the same stage two years running.
That does not, however, tell the full story of Joel’s fantastic achievements this season.
The 13 year-old boxer retained his North East crown with comfort beating Darlington’s Morgan Guest via a unanimous decision in the regional semi-final. He followed that up a week later and beat Houghton’s Tommy Dixon this time taking a majority points win.
Naturally he was delighted with his achievement but in the pre-quarterfinal he faced the daunting task of beating last year’s 44kg champion Patrick Birkenhead (Rotunda ABC) in his back yard at Merseyside.
Joel impressed and booked his place in the quarterfinals after taking the fight to the tricky southpaw and proving just how much improving he has done since last season.
One more national champion awaited the gritty boxer in the quarters, again on Merseyside, but unfortunately it proved one too many.
Vaughan had last year won the 42kg championships and this year stepped up two weight classes to box at 46kg.
Joel took the fight to the King’s Heath ABC boxer and gave him one of the hardest fights he’s likely to have in what was certainly a contender for fight of the day. Vaughan only got the decision by scoring of three judges to two.
“I will take a lot of confidence from this,” Hassan said. “Obviously I am disappointed to lose but I beat a national champion in the pre-quarterfinals and then to take another champion so close just a week later is a great achievement.”
Of the fight with Vaughan, the young boxer said: “That was definitely my best performance of the whole competition even though I got beat. I think it was fight of the day, he was a tough kid but we both showed we wanted to win. It was tight but I thought I could have won.”
This is certainly not the end for the developing star and if he continues to grow then he could have incredible highs in the sport.
“I will take huge confidence from this and come back in the competition next year stronger. I hope to box for England one day but for the rest of this season I have a couple of fights lined up against lads from Repton and Liverpool so my focus will be on this,” Joel Said.
*Joel’s team mate Reece Amir has made it to the final. The 66kg boxer fights in Merseyside at the Everton Park Leisure Centre on either March 2nd or 3rd against William Ripley (Faversham).