Heartbreak to triumph for Liam Davies
Liam Davies has gone from heartbreak to triumph after being picked for his England debut in the Elite Three Nations at the end of this month.
Davies' quest to claim an England Elite Championships title was ended by the ring doctor before he got a chance to box his national final.
The 20-year-old endured a heartbreaking end to his challenge after beating two seeds in succession on his way to meet the favourite, writes Craig Birch.
But swelling over both eyes and a nick below his right in battle needed an inspection, before the bout was due to take place. The officials then ruled him out through injury.
Great Britain podium boxer Peter McGrail, from Everton Red Triangle in Liverpool, prevailed from the 56kg division and claimed the belt by default.
Davies was presented with the runners-up trophy, at the same time, with the honours dished out by WBC world cruiserweight title challenger and 'Creed' movie star Tony Bellew.
And the Donnington Boxing Club fighter's mood has been lifted since he was informed he will box for his country, with McGrail sidelined on GB duty.
The Elite Three Nations take place in Scotland at the end of the month, with Davies keen to grab the opportunity with both hands.
Dad and coach Tristan Davies said: "He's got a good record. The semi-final was his 90th fight and he's won 72.
"I think he should have boxed for England before now, but that's in the past. It's the Elite Three Nations at the end of the month.
"I'm very proud of what Liam has achieved. Not many fighters from Telford can see they got to a senior ABA (former name of the competition) final.
"Even Richie Woodhall didn't and he won bronze at the Olympics, gold at the Commonwealth Games and then a world title as a pro!"
Davies went on a Merseyside mission at a seven-pronged weight as the quarters, semi and final all took place over three days at Liverpool's Echo Arena.
He'd already seen off three opponents, including a first round TKO in the pre quarter-finals, to progress in the most senior (aged 18 and over) of England Boxing competitions.
He'd been dwarfed in his first pairing with third seed Connor Marsden, from Earlsfield in London, who was well in excess of 6ft at bantamweight.
Both tall, upright boxers, Davies managed to sneak past his opponent's longer jab and work on the inside, while throwing right hands over the top to mix his attacks.
His cleaner shots saw him through comfortably on points by unanimous decision after three, three minute rounds, putting him into the semi-finals 24 hours later.
Second seed and puncher Charlie Kenny, from Hoddesdon, has an excellent knockout ratio and hurt Davies - but not with his hands.
Davies had fended off his shorter and stockier foe through the jab, as he bossed the first two rounds. Kenny then threw the kitchen sink at him in the last sessions.
Flailing elbows caught Davies and made both of his eyes balloon, although it wasn't that evident until well after his hand was raised on a split decision.
Tristan said: "I saw a little bit of blood as we was getting changed, but I thought he'd be alright. Everyone was gutted by what eventually happened.
"Liam had mastered a much taller kid in the first fight and then outboxed a lad who has been knocking people out for fun.
"I was confident he'd beat McGrail, too, as he's used to fighting southpaws. In the form he was in, I believed he had his number.
"The doctor got two of his colleagues so they could inspect Liam further, so we could have no complaints. The wound probably would have split in the final."
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