Published: 00:00, 26 February 2019
| Updated: 09:36, 26 February 2019
Gillingham boxer Jacey Birch is set to represent England after clinching a national title last weekend.
The 17-year-old bounced back from defeat in the National Amateur Boxing Championships to claim victory in the England Boxing National Youth Championships.
Her knockback in November only served to increase her determination for the youth championships.
St Mary's coach Wayne Smith, speaking on KMTV's Team Talk, said: “We have had high hopes for Casey, she is an incredible athlete and she puts in the effort, especially for this title.
“She came up short in the NABCs in November and this time I think it got her up and running and she was gunning for this one. She trained hard and won it.”
Victory means she will now get to represent England in the Three Nations in May, up against boxers from Scotland and Wales.
Birch clinched the win in the 45kg to 48kg Female Youth category, just doing enough to beat Wildcard ABC’s Rebecca Unsworth in the final.
First up for Birch was a semi-final bout against Morgan Ansell (Cleary’s ABC), the sixth time the two girls had shared a ring. Ansell had beaten her twice in finals.
Like the previous five, this was another close contest, with Birch working to establish her jab and showing good footwork and countering.
The result was another split between the pair, this time in the favour of Birch, which moved here onto the final against Unsworth.
Birch grew in confidence as the final bout went on and she once again won by a split decision.
“It is amazing," she said. "I trained so hard, so to win was really good.”