The Golden trio

A trio of Tyneside fighters have stormed through to the finals of the national Golden Gloves competition.

A trio of Tyneside fighters have stormed through to the finals of the national Golden Gloves competition.

Grainger Park's George Bannister and Birtley's Tom Ward led the way with spectacular early stoppages in their semi-finals at Spennymoor, while Billy Dean Dolan, also from Birtley, squeezed through on points in a tight contest.

Ward stopped Andre Anders from Joe Egans in the first round, Bannister did the same to Phoenix's Nick Snelson in the second, while Dolan took the decision 6-5 against Michael Stevens of Sporting Ring.

Bannister was facing a guy who had won six of his seven bouts, but dropped him with a body shot in the first and caused the referee to intervene in the second.

"We're delighted to have two of our boxers in another national final," said Birtley head coach Ronnie Rowe from Chicago, where he has four senior fighters taking part in the Emerald Gloves tournament.

"It's a tribute to Graeme Rutherford, who coaches our kids and produces a string of current and future champions."

Birtley seniors Gary Barr, Travis Dickinson, Richie Boyle and Craig Dixon fight in Chicago on Friday night in an Anglo-Irish team, before taking part in the St Patrick's Day parade the following afternoon.

The Tyne, Tees and Wear Division have no fewer than 13 into the schoolboy finals in Yorkshire the weekend after next, which is a terrific achievement.

Joining Bannister, Ward and Dolan are Jack Coglan and Ben Jackson (Spennymoor), Callum Quamby and Jordan King (Hetton Town), Joshua Kelly (Sunderland), Thomas Hallimond (Shildon), Daniel Canmore (Aycliffe), Henry Thomas (Darlington), Michael Bradford (Plains Farm), and Michael Watson (South Durham).

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