Without competition, amateur boxers like Ryan Fillingham choose to hang up the gloves

With no immediate chance of boxing Ryan Fillingham is one of the amateurs to have retired early from the sport, writes Matt Bozeat

RYAN FILLINGHAM, the 94-bout veteran who reached the Elite final in 2013 and was there or thereabouts every year since, has announced his retirement. Because of injuries and Covid-19, it is around two years since he boxed and Fillingham has decided to hang up his gloves.

He started out at Bracebridge ABC in his Lincoln home-town when he was 11-years-old weighing around 32kgs and as a schoolboy and junior, opponents struggled to stay with him. Fillingham was full of fight and his non-stop punching took him to a clutch of national titles. As a senior, Fillingham, by then representing the Army, reached the Elite lightweight final in 2013, losing on points to Isaac Dogboe.

Dogboe went on to win the WBO super-bantamweight championship in the pros, while Fillingham stuck with the Army and the amateurs.
Twice he reached the last four of the Elites, losing to Jack Wood at 60kgs in 2015 and to Martin McDonagh up at 64kgs two years later.
Fillingham also won gold at the Haringey and Eindhoven Box Cups.

Carl Greaves, twice a challenger for British honours in his pro career before becoming a successful manager and promoter, had known Fillingham since he was a boy and hoped he would turn professional with him.

Fillingham instead set himself the target of reaching 100 amateur bouts and took on several who went on to make their mark in the pros.

He was beaten by Josh Kelly, Tommy Ward, Lyon Woodstock and had 1-3 record against Alfie Price in their four meetings.

Ryan considers Price, the Hoddesdon left hander who currently holds the Southern Area lightweight title, as his toughest opponent.

Fillingham had a win over Nathan French, who is currently 7-0 under Greaves. The Lincolnshire rivals staged their version of Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns at a working men’s club in Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, in February, 2014. French went on the attack, Fillingham met him head on, punched with him and landed enough clean punches to force a count. On the resumption, Fillingham went for broke trying to force the finish and when he stopped punching, French was still standing.

It became French’s turn to attack and he unloaded a barrage – until Fillingham smashed him with a right hand.

The punch had French badly dazes and the referee decided to jump in and stop the bout.

That all happened inside a round!

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