Swashbuckling TJ Waite savours Ulster Elite flyweight title joy in Newry
TJ Waite put on a masterclass to claim the Ulster Elite flyweight title at a packed Bellini's in Newry last night.
Waite was simply too good for a game Ben Nelson with the switch-hitter displaying incredible movement and accuracy to score a unanimous decision win.
Waite opened in the orthodox stance, but soon switched to southpaw with a beautiful right hand a sign of things to come.
Waite landed eye-catching combinations as the stocky Nelson marched forward hoping to land with looping rights, but was getting picked off.
This continued for the three rounds with Waite dancing in and out of range and scoring with his uppercut was particularly effective as he collected the Ryan Cup.
"I thought I performed well, good enough to win anyway so that's enough," said the 52kg champion, whose dad was also an Ulster senior champion.
"I like to practice both stances in the gym and that worked well for me.
"He was tough and kept coming at me. I would be a bit better than him though. He just won the Intermediates so would be a level below me.
"Hopefully I can produce the same in the Irish Seniors."
In a magnificent lightweight decider, Braid's Anthony O'Rawe came from behind to defeat Marc McLaughlin on a split decision.
The Dockers man dominated the first round with his left hand from the southpaw stance causing O'Rawe real problems, but once the victor took that extra step inside in the second round, his rights were finding the target and with momentum behind him, he didn't look back.
"I would be a bit of a slow starter and it took me that round to maybe figure him out," said the Sholdis Cup winner.
"This is a new weight for me so I'm delighted with the win."
Bernaldo Marime won the battle of west Belfast in the middleweight decider as the Holy Trinity man edged past Gerard Matthews of St Paul's on a split decision after three tough rounds.
Marime was on the front foot against Matthews, who was looking to use his reach advantage to box at range, with his shots perhaps catching the eye that little bit more in the opening round.
Matthews - a southpaw - was having his moments too and his lefts were also finding the target.
However, the aggression of Marime was possibly making the difference and he got the nod after an excellent nine minutes of action.
"I have been trying for years and years to win an Ulster title but got bad decisions," said a thrilled Marime afterwards.
"I would like to thank my coaches for helping me to win this. I trained really hard to achieve this so I'm really happy. Next I go to Dublin (for the Irish Seniors) so I hope I do well."
There was to be no joy for the large home support in the middleweight final, however, as Camlough's Fearghus Quinn won the battle of the southpaws against Conor Wallace of St Monica's, Newry.
In the welterweight final, there was success for Monkstown's Michael Bustard, who overcame Holy Trinity's Connor Doherty on a split decision.
In the only women's final of the night, Caroline Connolly of Mourne GG was a unanimous decision winner over Carrigart's Maeve McCarron.