HARWICH ABC’s John Wheatley dug deep to lift an Eastern Counties crown.

The reigning Essex elite welterweight champion defeated Liam Goodjohn, of Haddenham, in the elite final on Canvey Island.

Wheatley drew on his experience and dug deep to be awarded a split decision victory.

With a place in the pre-quarter-final of the national championships up for grabs, both boxers made a cagey start in the opening round, with neither looking to over-commit.

John Wheatley (red vest) v Liam Goodjohn (blue vest), round one

Wheatley countered on the back foot, as Goodjohn advanced.

Wheatley seized the initiative in the second round, upping his punch-rate and countering his taller opponent with eye-catching three and four-punch combinations.

Goodjohn piled on the pressure in the final round of this three by three-minute contest.

Harwich senior Wheatley had a standing eight count, despite the punch seeming a little low.

Goodjohn went on to recieve an official warning for low punching but a frantic pace remained with both boxers having their successes in a hard-fought contest.

However, Wheatley drew on his experience and dug deep to be awarded a split decision victory to lift the Eastern Counties crown.

He has now fought his way through to the pre quarter-final stage of the championships, to be held in Aldershot on Saturday.

Wheatley has been drawn against Joe Luis D’Santos, of Woking, with the winner advancing to the Elite ABA quarter-finals.

John Wheatley (red vest) v Liam Goodjohn (blue vest), round two

Also fighting on the bill on Canvey were Essex University duo Aaron Spenner and Alfie Lucas who were competing in support bouts.

Spenner got back to winning back with a well-earned split verdict points victory over Southend’s George Wright. It was his first win since 2012 and owed much to the Uni fighter’s accuracy and desire.

Fourteen-year-old Lucas continuous to show his power and winning form by stopping Canvey’s Lewis Agambar in the second round with a strong display of powerful punching.

The 53kg boxer had lost to Agambar in 2013 and was eager to gain revenge.

By using his left jab to find his range, Lucas was able to unleash the heavy right hands that were significant in Agambar’s downfall.

It was not an easy victory but Lucas was not to be denied giving Agambar a standing count in the second before the referee had seen enough at the end of the round to give him another victory l TO see the video of Wheatley’s fight, visit gazette-news.co.uk/sport