West Ham’s Viddal Riley claims superb silver medal
PUBLISHED: 18:30 21 November 2013
West Ham BC’s superb teenage talent Viddal Riley was a silver star at the European Junior Championship in Russia last week, only suffering a narrow defeat in the 80kg final on Saturday.
The silver medal was an outstanding achievement for the 16-year-old, who only returned to the ring eight months ago after a two-year injury-forced break from boxing.
His 80kg final clash with Russia’s Dmitriy Marutkin saw Riley move into an early lead, scoring with accurate right hands before his stocky rival slammed back with effective shots in the second round.
In the decisive final round the pair swapped solid punches but with the partisan Russian fans roaring their support the tight verdict, and the gold medal went to Marutkin.
Earlier he had clinched the final spot in a semi-final encounter against Jurgen Uldedaj (Albania) when both boxers slammed home solid shots, but Riley’s powerful rights set up the points win.
In the quarter-finals, the Hammer maintained the pressure on Georgian Iago Gedenidze on his way to a clear points win, after opening his campaign beating Ukraine rival Vlad Naumenko in the preliminaries.
His silver medal, alongside a gold for Southampton’s Ryan Garner, were the highlights of the ABA squad in Russia, which included Repton’s Jimmy Smith.
Smith looked unlucky to lose a decision to Ukraine boxer Stepan Grukel in the 66kg quarter-final – and Grukel went on to lose a split verdict in the final.
While Riley was winning abroad, a trio of his clubmates were stealing the honours on the Waltham Forest show, where Luke Saunders, Sid Driscoll and Kieran Desmond were in winning form.
Saunders took the best boxer award and shared the best bout of the night award, after his thrilling victory over Brad Paul, the Golden Ring Southampton boxer he defeated in the ABA semi-finals earlier this year.
The Hammers ABA finalist landed his rapid-fire attacks to dominate the high-standard encounter, but his willing rival was always competetive in a bout that thrilled the packed crowd at the Prince Regent Hotel in Chigwell.
The 15-year-old Driscoll produced his high-standard skills to control his clash with Akash Tuqir from the Wellington Boxing Academy and took the verdict.
Another bright prospect from the Hammers stable, 13-year-old Kieran Desmond, made it a club double against a rival from the Wellington Academy as he piled up the points against Husain Hussain.
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