KOROIT trainer Lyndon Edney has high hopes for a group of boxers he is preparing for bouts this year.
Edney said he was rapt with the efforts of the emerging and established prospects at an Australia Day boxing exhibition at Koroit on Sunday.
Heavyweight Warrick Eccles made his return to the ring against Coleraine boxer Hamish Thomas after time away from the sport.
Chris Folima, Jyl Wright, Jason O’Grady, Andrea Iurissevich and Laura Bell also fought and are keen to go again in an official capacity.
Edney said the exhibition attracted about 200 people, fewer than organisers had hoped for but enough to create a rousing atmosphere.
He said Eccles, who trialled for Commonwealth Youth Games selection in 2010, “picked up where he left off with his boxing”.
“We’re going to have to chase some pretty experienced opponents to spar with him in the city before we rush into a fight,” Edney said.
“He’s champing at the bit to get started, but as his trainer I made the intelligent point to get him sparring against similar guys he’ll come up against.
“So far the heavier guys we’ve got around here, none of them have been at the level he was before he hung up the gloves for a while.”
Edney said the rest of his prospects would also prepare for amateur bouts as part of the Boxing Victoria calendar.
Their first chance is at the Reggio Calabria Club in Brunswick on February 23, while there are bouts every second weekend throughout the year.
Edney said the fight between Ethan Currie and Rohan Eccles was the most skilful on Sunday, while Folima and Brent Shinners lit up the crowd.
But the three female boxers on the card — Bell, Mahni Wright and Kailyn Edney — also sparked surprise from those watching ringside.
“Laura gave everything she had against me and the two younger girls, Kailyn and Mahni, went well,” Edney said.
Youngsters Jacob Sumner and Charlie Edney also stepped into the ring at the exhibition as part of a skills display.