Boxing club debuts new fighters

BOXERS: Steven Hutchins and Liam Booth will put their hard work to the test as the debut at the South Australian Amateur Boxing season opener on February 23. Photo: Courtney Chapman.

BOXERS: Steven Hutchins and Liam Booth will put their hard work to the test as the debut at the South Australian Amateur Boxing season opener on February 23. Photo: Courtney Chapman.

Liam Booth and Steven Hutchins have been inseparable for the past six months, keeping each other accountable before they step through the ropes for their first boxing match.

Training six days a week, the pair have been preparing for their debut fight side-by-side, but as their coach Steve Grantham says "when you step through those ropes you’re by yourself."

On February 23, Booth and Hutchins will put their training to the test at the South Australian Amateur Boxing season opener.

21-year-old Hutchins will face his opponent in the Welterweight class, while 19-year-old Booth steps into the ring as a Heavyweight.

Booth has been boxing on and off for fitness since he was 12 but has become more serious about the sport over the past two years.

"I have always been inspired by it, especially as a young lad growing up watching the likes of Max Sharpe, Brandon Chapman and Andrew Saunders back in the day," Booth said.

"I've done a bit of footy and played basketball and cricket, but its always been boxing."

Unlike Liam, best mate Hutchins is a relatively new face in the Port Augusta Boxing Club.

"I really started liking fighting when Steve told me I had a bit of potential, because I was only doing it for fitness," Hutchins said.

"But once they said that they think I could go far I really started pushing for it and haven’t looked back since."

WORLD CLASS: Morgan Boxing and Fitness Equipment have approached the club to feature this image of Hutchins, taken by club secretary Courtney Chapman, in a marketing campaign.

WORLD CLASS: Morgan Boxing and Fitness Equipment have approached the club to feature this image of Hutchins, taken by club secretary Courtney Chapman, in a marketing campaign.

Both athletes will have to overcome unique challenges on the night.

Hutchins will face a Mildura boxer who has two fights under his belt and Booth will face a fellow debutant from Murray Bridge – 37-years-old and almost twice his age. 

"Definitely feeling a little bit of nerves, but they are good nerves. We prepare for it so we definitely want to do it. We rock up every day and we train so now it's just excitement," Booth said.

"The age gap doesn’t bother me, it’s better. I feel like I'm younger and quicker, definitely fitter."

"It’s been a long time coming so we are just really keen to get in there," Hutchins added.

The training partners have credited their preparation to the support of the Port Augusta Boxing Club and their coaches Steve Grantham and Terry Macintosh.

The club has had undeniable success in the past but with a four year lapse in representation at any level, Grantham is confident his new fighters will do Port Augusta proud.

"They have done everything I’ve asked of them, but both the lads have got pretty hard fights," he said.

"They are totally two different sorts of boxers. Hutchy is considered a pressure fighter – he’ll go and keep walking forward. Whether as Liam has long arms and I’m expecting him to box a little bit more."

Grantham will be in their corner throughout both matches and is expecting a big turn out from ex-club boxers, but also encourages support from the local community.

The match takes place at Marion Leisure and Fitness Centre with doors opening at 5:30pm.

"It’s hugely important to have the support. At the end of the day when you step through those ropes you’re by yourself and it doesn’t matter who it is at what level, you’ll never be so nervous and scared in your life," he said.

"Especially having your first one because it’s the unknown. When they get the first on out of the way it’s a big relief.

"I’m pretty confident they’ll make Port Augusta proud."