LEAMINGTON boxer Lewis Williams produced one of the best displays of his short career but he was still unable to be crowned heavyweight winner at the Youth Championships.
After breezing past Robert Davis of Stainforth ABC in Saturday’s semi-final, 17-year-old Williams came up against Barnstaple’s Rob Squires in Sunday’s final.
Squirez started on top in the opening round but Williams soon took over and by the second round he was into his stride, attacking his opponent with a series of low blows.
Another solid third round had the Williams camp convinced he had won the title, but a split decision by the judges went in favour of Squires.
“As the bell went I really believed Lewis had won but I was baffled when they raised Squires’ hand,” said coach Edwin Cleary. “Looking in the ring and after Squires had the looked a beaten man.
“It’s hard to try and explain to boxers how decisions sometimes seem to go the wrong way, but Lewis understands the game.
“Three judges gave it a split but two England selectors believed he’d won comfortably and the vast majority of the crowd.
“This is boxing and scoring is based on opinion, but I believe after talking to the selectors Lewis has got a massive 2016 ahead of him.”
The Youth Championships were the first England Boxing finals to be boxed under the new AIBA rules, and saw boxers born in 1996 and 1997 competing in three-minute rounds.
Despite losing in the final, Williams did catch the eye of the England selectors who will now monitor his progress closely over the next 12 months.
Cleary added: “Lewis was approached by two England selectors who were also baffled by the result and shaking their heads.
“They had been watching Lewis over the last two days and said they can see he’s got a boxing brain.
“For 20 minutes or so after the show they really showed their interest. They have a plan for Lewis and they mentioned he’s there at the right time with the Olympics in four years.
“As a coach I can’t get the smile off my face but for Lewis it’s going to seem very little conciliation at the moment. But I’ve got a feeling this is just the start.”