Dewsbury student fights his way to the top
Ashley Vanzie, a final year BSc (Hons) Sport, Physical Activity & Health student from Dewsbury, took home both the prize for the 81kg open class category and the best boxer of the tournament award, becoming the number three-ranked light heavyweight amateur boxer in England in the process.
Last year, Ashley reached the semi-finals of both the ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) Championships and the national championships. Forced to step down from the finals of the national championships with a chest infection, Ashley became determined to succeed and entered into the prestigious international Haringey Box Cup, winning gold and being voted boxer of the tournament by the Boxing News.
Spurred on by his success, and despite hearing that English fighters couldn't compete abroad according to official regulations, Ashley decided to put his name down for the Celtic Box Cup and was thrilled to find out that the ban had been lifted, days before the competition.
Speaking about his preparations, he said: "I hurriedly called around trying to organise funding to go as it was such short notice. I got to Ireland, weighed in and was told that the captain of the Olympic boxing team, Darren O'Neil, was in my weight class. And that I was drawn against him. When they announced me the winner (albeit by split decision), I jumped with joy."
The next day, Ashley was paired against Dean Laing, who is in the top ten of his category in England, defeating him in every round to be crowned the unanimous winner.
Speaking about his future aspirations, Ashley added: "At the end of the day, I was informed that I had been voted boxer of the tournament out of 300 fighters so I was slightly overwhelmed at this point. To think that I very nearly didn't go due to lack of funding. My eyes are now set firmly on winning this year's ABAs and getting on to the GB squad for Rio 2016."