Falkirk Phoenix ace Stephanie Kernachan is amongst home stars who dazzled at club's 'Battle of Falkirk' home show

Falkirk Phoenix Boxing Club staged a successful home show at Camelon Social Club where a packed house enjoyed strong showings from local fighters.
The FPBC crew enjoyed a successful club show earlier this month at Camelon Social Club (Photo: Submitted)The FPBC crew enjoyed a successful club show earlier this month at Camelon Social Club (Photo: Submitted)
The FPBC crew enjoyed a successful club show earlier this month at Camelon Social Club (Photo: Submitted)

Aptly named the ‘Battle of Falkirk 2024’, a crowd of around 200 turned out on Friday, March 8, to see the show – which featured nine phoenix aces, including Boxing Scotland Elite Boxing Group member Stephanie Kernachan, who topped the bill.

The occasion also marked a first for the club, which was born in 2019 as the successor to Zetland Boxing Club, as they collaborated with Camelon Social Club for the first time.

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"It is quite a small space so we were all unsure of how things would go but it worked brilliantly and the feedback we have had has been brilliant,” a phoenix spokesperson said. “From the boxers themselves to the parents, coaches, Boxing Scotland officials, and the punters face to face and online, the reaction has been phenomenal!

"We believe we have found a wee gold nugget of a venue and we will be back there. We’d like to also thank our sponsors, the volunteer officials and of course the boxers and their families.

"We’d like to thank: Innovative Environmental Services, AIIR Environmental Ltd, 3BC Reclamation Ltd, The Graeme Hotel, Angus Braidwood & Son Ltd, Bev Tiling Specialist, M&T Contracts Ltd, Martin Sreenan, Camelon Community Project, The Morrison Family, Balfour’s Fish & Chips, Lauren Johnston Tutoring, Gallagher Building & Construction, Camelon Social Club.”

The show started with two of phoenix’s youngsters, Jack Martin and Euan Cooper, competing in a cub skills bout. The crowd were instantly wooed as these two primary school kids showed off their skills in a non-competitive bout between club members, and as the MC announced that Cooper was the first boxer from Camelon to pull on the FPBC strip.

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Next up for the club were school age bantamweights Shane Montague and Corey Sreenan, also in an exhibition bout. This was a first outing for both and they put on a fine show of skill and determination, while the club’s upcoming middleweight Callum Whitecross acquitted himself well in a skills bout against Nathan Rodden from Duries.

The first competitive bout for Falkirk Phoenix involved the club’s junior light-welter Christian MacKay. From Larbert, he was making his debut and was up against Ira Tasinga from Glenrothes, who was having his second bout.

These boxers were perfectly matched and had the crowd on their feet in a bout that swung one way and then the other, as both landed heavily to body and head. However, over the three rounds Tasinga edged ahead winning two rounds to one, but MacKay showed that he has what takes and will no doubt be in action again soon.

The midway point of the show saw a first for the Falkirk club as they had secured the right to host a Scottish Junior Golden Gloves title bout – that had spilled over from the junior championships – the weekend before.

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This saw Yehor Tsoma from Lochend take on Stephen Steadwood from the Bronx. These two youngster showed skill and poise in a closely contested bout but Tsoma edged it and was crowned the National Golden Gloves Champion.

Next up for phoenix was the club’s national development 66kg champion Robbie Shanks. He faced an old foe here in Alexander Townsley from Beath, himself a national development champion at 63kg.

This clash of champions bout was trilogy decider, as they had previously won one a piece. This bout was another cracker and saw Shanks on the front foot from the get go, cheered on by a vocal crowd.

However, Townsley got on his bike and despite Shanks landing heavily with his clubbing backhand Townsley hit and ran and his clever movement and slick counter punching saw him sneak ahead and secure a points win.

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The penultimate home boxer in the ring was Marcus Allan, who can consider himself very unlucky indeed to have lost on a 3-2 split to Jamie Durie from Duries Boxing Club.

Although a toughly contested bout, where both had successes, Durie attempted to show boat, but this led to him being caught repeatedly by Allan, who looked to have secured a comfortable win.

Last up for the phoenix was elite boxer ‘Special K’ Stephanie Kernachan. Scotland’s number one at 54kg (bantamweight) and a six-time three weight national champion, the Falkirk ace was also the first senior Scottish female to win a GB title plus being the first Scottish elite women to compete at a World Championship event.

In her fight, she took on an old foe in Meadowbank’s Niamh Hay, the current national 57kg development champion and current elite 60kg champion. This was another first for Kernachan as the all-women bout was the bill topper in an Olympic style event in what was otherwise an all male show.

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Special K was on the front foot immediately, hunting for Hay. She landed repeatedly with straight and bent arm shots and this brought the best out of Hay who rallied again and again, despite her pressure.

The crowd were on their feet throughout this battle of champions and this drove Kernachan on, which saw the referee issue a standing count to Hay following a two-handed onslaught from the phoenix fighter in round two.

Hay did well to survive and after an absolute barnstormer of fight the Camelon Social Club roof was nearly blown off by the crowds reaction when Kernachan was announced as a comfortable winner on points.

In a final and nice touch, Betty Buist and her son Derek, presented Special K with the inaugural “John Buist Memorial Trophy” for the best home boxer, in memory of John Buist, the former Zetland Boxing Club head coach, who died recently.

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The Falkirk bill was littered with talent including current and former champions as follows: Logan Steven (Madison) lost on point v Kyle Kirkwood (Jonesys), Cooper Brown (MacTaggart Scott) lost on point v Mason Maycock (Galashiels), Liam Rutherford (Hawick) won on points v Lucas Ewan (Duries), Blair Lapsely (Alloa) lost on points v Jay Morrell (Byron) – who won best away boxer, Robbie Prosser (Alloa) won on points v Jack Noble (Galashiels), Ricky McDonald (Alloa) lost due to a cut eye v Olivier Kasusula (Renfrewshire Saltire).

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