BOXING: Ashley faces Ayling challenge

This Is Wiltshire: Ashley Wilkins (Photo by Stephen McGrath) Ashley Wilkins (Photo by Stephen McGrath)

CHIRTON teenager Ashley Wilkins is hoping to prove a national knockout when he takes on Taylor Ayling in the quarter-finals of the school boy ABA championships this weekend.

The 14-year-old Devizes School pupil, whose older brother Liam, 18, reached the quarter-finals of the junior ABAs in 2011, was crowned Western Counties’ champion in the U50kg weight group after stopping Swindon’s Gary O’Riley in the third round at Bristol last weekend.

Wilkins, who trains at Devizes Boxing Club, will take on Earlsfield ABC’s Ayling in front of his home crowd in Feltham, London, on Saturday.

And the youngster can count on the backing of top trainers Adam Booth and Paddy Fitzpatrick, who have developed a close relationship with the Devizes club.

“Ashley won the Western Counties two years ago but had to pull out because he got glandular fever and, before last Saturday, he was suffering with flu and I almost pulled him out again but he carried on and boxed really well,” said dad Paul Wilkins, who is the Devizes club’s chairman.

“I know that the other guys were a bit wary of Ashley and one of the coaches came up to me to tell me that they knew he was the most talented kid in the region but everybody’s got a banger’s chance. Luckily, Ashley was too good on the day.

“I had to text Paddy and Adam Booth in Las Vegas because they wanted to know how he got on and I’ll have to do the same after this weekend.

“He’s up against a real tough kid but he’s trained hard all through Christmas and he’s got every chance of getting through.”

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