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Pontyberem’s Zack offers expert analysis

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Gary Buckland and Zack Davies: ‘Great to follow careers from the start’

WELSH boxing is thriving at the moment and the future looks bright, according to the professional boxer from Pontyberem, Zack Davies.

The 25-year-old light-welterweight fighter who has a record of seven wins and one loss during his career so far, will feature as the ringside analyst in the new S4C combat sports series Y Ffeit.

The new six-part series will show highlights from professional and amateur bouts from the biggest boxing and MMA events in Wales, starting on Wednesday night (Mar 29).

The first programme will show highlights from a boxing event held in Rhydycar Leisure Centre in Merthyr Tydfil. The main event of the evening will see Mountain Ash fighter Tony Dixon take on Wrexham’s Mike Jones for the Welsh Super Welterweight title. Zack is already looking forward to taking his ringside seat.

How did you become interested in boxing in the first place?

Boxing is in my blood. My grand-dad opened his own gym in Pontyberem and his four sons started boxing. There are pictures of my dad boxing up on the walls in the house. I’d have to say it’s my family I look up to most in boxing. But I only got into boxing when I was 11-years-old. My brother is older than me and he used to win a lot of trophies and get a lot of the limelight after winning his fights, and I wanted some of it. So I started because I was jealous and I’ve been hooked ever since.

What is your career highlight so far and what is your ambition?

I fought on the undercard of Roy Jones Jr and Enzo Maccarinelli in Russia in 2015, and I won. It was a great show in a big stadium holding 20,000 people, and that was an experience I’ll never forget. As an amateur, I fought in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and I was also part of the GB squad for four years.

In the future, I just want to take things as they come and go as far as I can. I have no specific goal of becoming a world champion by a certain point. I just want to reach my potential, continue to work hard and be as fit as I can.

Who’s who in boxing in Wales at the moment?

Lee and Andrew Selby are leading the way and Nathan Cleverly is doing well too. There’s a fighter from my gym, Liam Williams, who’s a Commonwealth champion and he’s starting to make a name for himself. There are a lot of quality Welsh fighters coming through at the moment, people like Dale Evans, Tony Dixon, Chris Jenkins and Alex Hughes. Maybe these boys will be the next Cleverly or the next Selby. It’s great we’re following these boxers’ careers from the start on Y Ffeit.

Who are you looking forward to watching on the first Y Ffeit night in Merthyr?

Tony Dixon is the big name on the card and I’m looking forward to seeing him. Tony is a very strong and exciting fighter. He was knocked out last year and he recovered well to win his next fight, but he’s got another big test against Mike Jones, who is in good shape and will be right up for it, because it’s the biggest fight of his career so far. Dorian Darch (Wales’ leading heavyweight boxer, who will fight Chris Healey) is a strong fighter too, so this bout will also be a good watch.

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Stars earn first win

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Run: A Stars player sets off on another run in their win over Llandeilo. Photo by Darren Harries​

New Dock Stars • 17
Llandeilo • 10
League 3 West B

THE N​EW DOCK STARS earned their first win of the season ​last Saturday (Sept 30) as they beat Llandeilo 17-10.

The game was held up for around half an hour as Matthew Daniels had to be taken to hospital with a broken leg. The Herald understands that Matthew has had an operation on his leg and all at the Herald wish him a speedy recovery.

The Dock took the lead after 20 minutes with a try in the corner by centre Gareth Williams and the conversion by Liam Doran was successful.

They extended their lead to 12-0 shortly after with a try from number 8 Dylan Jones.

The game was then held up as Daniels was hurt shortly before half time and he had to be stretchered off the field.

Llandeilo hit back to make it 12-10 before a barnstorming run by the highly impressive flanker Jordan Evans which was finished by winger Spencer Thomas.

On Saturday ​(​Oct 7​)​, New Dock Stars are at home again as they welcome Burry Port in the second round of the WRU Bowl.

Llandeilo are also in action in the Bowl as they travel to Penybanc.

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Llanelli rugby club scores donation

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A THRIVING Llanelli rugby club is celebrating after receiving a cash boost from a leading house builder.

New Dock Stars RFC has been handed a £750 donation from Persimmon Homes West Wales to help pay for coaching.

The club has been running for around eight years and provides rugby for children aged between six and 14.

The donation comes as part of Persimmon’s Healthy Communities scheme.

Jon Harries, of the club, said: “We’re thrilled to receive this generous donation. We play matches on a Sunday around Carmarthenshire and Swansea and we train on Wednesday evenings on our field.

“During the winter months we try to secure indoor training at the barn at Parc y Scarlets to ensure the children can continue to receive high quality coaching during the wet and cold months.

“This experience does cost a considerable amount, so donations like this are vital.”

Every month sports clubs and individuals in each of Persimmon’s 30 operating areas receive donations of £750 – a total of £22,500.

In January 30 finalists from each region will be selected and a public vote will follow, with prizes of £200,000, £50,000 and £5,000 up for grabs.

The Healthy Communities scheme runs alongside Persimmon’s Community Champions initiative for non-sports clubs, which sees more than £700,000 dished out to good causes each year.

Sharon Robinson, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Wales, said: “We are extremely proud of our charity schemes, Healthy Communities and Community Champions. It’s terrific to be able to support sports clubs and charities across West Wales with tens of thousands of pounds every year.

“New Dock Stars RFC is a great club which provides excellent coaching and facilities for kids in the area. We hope that this money will help them continue over the winter.”

Persimmon Homes is currently very active in and around Llanelli with its Cwrt Y Bedw, development in Pontarddulais and Llys Meredith in Gorseinon. Prices start at £109,995 for a two-bedroom property, perfect for first time buyers.

To find out more or to enter the competition, visit www.persimmonhomes.com/charity.

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Sport

Reds maintain winning start

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Goal: The Reds celebrate yet again

Llanelli Town • 3
Ton Pentre • 0

FIVE games, five wins – Llanelli Town are proving to be the pacesetters so far in Welsh League Division 1, although their latest success at the expense of their Rhondda Valley opponents was not as clear-cut as the result suggests.

Ton are known as the Rhondda Bulldogs, and to their credit they displayed the tenacious tendencies attributed to the breed, causing their opponents plenty of problems, particularly in the first half, before the Reds gradually took control and finally ran out winners thanks to a Jordan Davies brace and a third from Liam Samuel.

Missing some key players, including the unavailable Lee Trundle, the hosts were certainly lacking the intensity displayed in their last outing at Penybont where they were in the ascendancy throughout and dominated proceedings.

They started off well, with James Loveridge putting in a strong run down the right before delivering a ball beyond goalkeeper Ryan Griffiths into the goalmouth, but Jordan Follows, at full stretch, agonisingly failed to make contact for a certain opener.

Another Loveridge assist this time found the head of Chris Jones, but again the finish drifted just wide.

After these early opportunities, chances at either end were at a premium, although a well struck effort by Follows who beat two defenders to set himself up, was fumbled low down by Griffiths, and the ball rebounded off the inside of the post and on to the line before being grabbed by the relieved keeper.

When the visitors countered, a shot from distance by Leon Jacka stung the hands of Scott Coughlin in the Reds` goal who managed to keep it out.

Overall, the half was an untidy affair with neither side able to exert the upper hand, and it was no surprise when the interval arrived with the game scoreless.

Whatever was said in the home dressing room during the break seemed to have the desired effect when the contest resumed, as the Reds were far more positive and looking the more likely to break the deadlock.

Follows failed to get any power into his strike on target and Griffiths saved easily, and when he set up Jones, his finish fizzed across the goalmouth and just wide of the far post.

Ton responded through Sam Small whose shot on the turn sailed narrowly over the top, and he went even closer when Jacka crossed to the far post, his goal bound header being brilliantly turned over by Coughlin.

The game was still evenly poised, and it seemed as if the side to score first would probably go on to win, and to the relief of the Reds, two goals in as many minutes swung the result in their favour.

The first arrived on 65 minutes following a well-worked move involving Loveridge and Follows which culminated in a backheel to set up Davies who beat Griffiths with firm shot into the bottom corner.

Two minutes later, the lead was doubled with Follows again involved, this time finding Davies in space in the box who again finished clinically past the keeper and give the Reds some breathing space.

Davies then turned provider, setting up Jones for a shot which again whistled fractionally wide.

Follows was replaced by Liam Samuel, who within ten minutes of his arrival notched up the third goal after Griffiths could only deflect an effort by Jones into his path, and he made no mistake by smashing it home in the 83rd minute.

At the close, another three points and a clean sheet for the Reds in front of a decent 401 attendance, but they were made to work hard for the win against opponents who belied their lowly league position.

The Reds travel west on Saturday (Sept 23) when they meet Haverfordwest County, kick off 2.30pm.

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