After a few knocks, Ivan is a champion

A YOUNG boxer with dreams of becoming a professional has secured his first belt.

Ivan Duniak, who is 17, was celebrating after a win in the 69kg weight class at the National Youth Championships in Rotherham.

The Priestley College student, who is working towards A-Levels in Maths, Further Maths and Electronics, defeated Michael Hennessey thanks to a split decision.

“He was big, but I was certain I could counter him quite easily because he was slower than me,” said Ivan, from Halton Brook in Runcorn.

“I’ve boxed for national titles before and missed out on decisions where I felt I had been unlucky so I’m really happy to get this one.”

His tactics of working hard to make Hennessey miss whilst also landing some clean hits of his own paid off.

It was a great moment for Ivan, who has previously sparred with WBO and Commonwealth light-middleweight title champion Liam Smith, and his coach Philly Roberts from Rotunda ABC.

Ivan’s Maths tutor Steve Nixon said: “It would probably be a surprise to anyone who knows Ivan that he is a boxer because he is quite a quiet lad.

“I think everyone in class enjoyed seeing his belt and wishes him well for the future.”

Ivan, whose twin brother also boxes, trains at least eight hours a week either in the gym, running or sparring.

The next step he wants to take is joining an England training camp.

“I obviously have to enjoy it to put all the work in and I do want to make it as a professional,” said Ivan.

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