BENDIGO has its first female national boxing champion, with Milli Woods scoring a junior 48kg title win in Perth on Saturday.
The 15-year-old, who has been training at the Hit Factory Boxing Gym in Golden Square for less than two years, outclassed Queensland rival Cori Byrnes in the tile decider at the 2018 Australian Boxing Championships.
Woods became only the second boxer in the last 20 years from Bendigo to win a national championship.
She joins fellow Hit Factory fighter Tully Scanlon, who won the junior 54kg championship in 2016, on the honour role.
Jake May, from the Pianto Boxing Academy, nearly made it two national titles for Bendigo, with the three-time Victorian champion winning silver in the 48kg division.
May, who turns 16 next month, lost a close duel with Queenslander Austin Crossland, to claim his second silver medal at nationals.
Victorian team coach Danniel Burton said Wood controlled the bout from start to finish, with all five judges awarding her the fight three rounds to nil.
He admitted to being cautiously confident of success at the youngster’s first tilt at the nationals.
“Milli had four fights going into the championships, all in the last two and a half months, so she had limited experience,” he said.
“But I know she has a big work rate.
“You don’t really know who you are up against at these titles. When we found out the girl was from The Boxing Shop in Brisbane, which has an Australian coach Shara Roma, I knew she was going to be technical and a clean fighter and Milli would need to really take the pressure to her and she did.”
Woods extended her in-ring record to 4-1.
Burton was equally impressed with May, who was up against an opponent with two previous national title wins.
“The fight was definitely up for the taking, there were moments where Jake was definitely on top, but the composure of his opponent allowed him to fight his way back into the fight,” he said.
A third Bendigo fighter Tom Atherton was narrowly beaten in his opening round bout in the 52kg division.
“I thought he had done enough to win, he landed a lot cleaner punches than the other kid,” Burton said.
Burton, who was the Victorian team’s head coach for the first time after several years as an assistant, said he was happy with the team’s performance in Perth.
The 30-member team combined for 21 medals.