Huddersfield-based Gladiators Boxing Academy had two young fighters compete at the GB Tri Nations Championships earlier this month.

Olena Heagney and Chrissace Mendez both came away with silver medals and coach Dennis Doyle said they did the club proud.

Heagney, aged 15, from Marsh, picked up her silver medal after losing to Ruby White. She entered the GB Tri Nations 2022 competition in high spirits and was given a bye straight to the final.

White was five times national champion of England but Heagney pushed her close in the first round. Heagney then stunned her opponent with a left cross which had a large Huddersfield contingent on their feet cheering.

Both girls landed some great combinations throughout the fight with the judges liking White’s work a little more. The fine decision was given on points to White. 

Reflecting on Heagney’s career so far, Doyle said: “Olena started boxing at Gladiators at the age of 12 following in her father Eugene Heagney’s footsteps.

“Eugene was a very successful, talented boxer with over 100 bouts as an amateur. He boxed for both England and Ireland as an amateur. After turning professional he boxed for the Irish flyweight title twice. After coming up just short both times he decided to retire.

“Olena had the desire and passion for the sport watching Katie Taylor. It wasn’t long before she was good enough to compete in competitions. We started travelling the country sparring some very high level girls and after a few bouts we entered her into the open class national junior championships where she lost in the final. 

“However having shown heart, skill and desire England boxing added Olena to the development squads.

“Coming away with the silver medal after her first boxing bout for England is a huge achievement and she did her family, her club and her country proud, so much so they have chosen her to represent Yorkshire in the upcoming Lonsdale Global Box Cup next weekend in Glasgow.”

Chrissace Mendez with Level 2 coach and boxing judge Brandon Doyle

The club’s other silver medalist in the GB Tri Nations Championships was 16-year-old Chrissace Mendez from Newsome. 

He started boxing at the age of 12 and his idol is Canelo Alvarez. Having entered the tournament Mendez was drawn against the very talented Welsh champion Zayn Burke. After a hard fought first round he struck his opponent with a well-timed body shot. He won the bout on points. 

Going through to the final he faced another top class boxer and tricky southpaw in the form of Scottish champion Liam Flynn. After a close first round he dropped his opponent in the second with a top class uppercut hook combination winning the round.

It all came down to the third round which was very scrappy as both boxers did a lot of holding. The judges gave the win to the Scot on points in what was seen by some as a controversial decision.  

On Mendez’s progress so far, Doyle said: “Chrissace picked up the sport quickly winning two Yorkshire belts at different weights and has become a four-time Yorkshire champion. He has also been picked for the England team at 70kg. 

“Again as a club we couldn’t be happier with the way both young boxers conducted themselves shaking the judges’ hands and congratulating their opponents on their victories.

“To come away with two silver medals is a dream come true and they have done themselves, their families, our club and the town proud.”