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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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Snooker returns with Olympic Cup

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THE Llanelli & District Snooker League returned following the enforced break with the Olympic Cup opening round.

In the First Division, Trimsaran A returned with a convincing 4-0 win at Pontyberem Workmens’, Jamie Tudor, Carl Thomas, Kieran Proctor and Mark Foreman their frame winners.

Elsewhere, Snooker World Whites progressed with a similar 4-0 win at Llanesco, while Peter Rowlands, Gavin Quinnell, Mike Moore and Dean Bowen claimed a 4-2 win for Llanelli Cons A against Burry Port Legion.

Wyn Major provided Llandybie Social’s only resistance as his side went out 4-1 at Matchroom Whites; Tyler Rees, Tom Twigg, Chris Davies and Steven Jenkins struck for the home side.

Matchroom Reds defeated Morfa 4-2, whereas the closest match of the night saw Ponthenri Social edge through 4-3 at Cross Hands B, thanks to Nigel Lewis, Jeff Howells, Mark Regola and Andrew Jones.

In the Second Division, Josh Townsend was Bryn & Trallwm A’s solitary frame winner in a 4-1 home defeat against CGMD; for the Glanamman side, Wyn Llewelyn, Brian Chappel, Matthew Jones and James Varney were “on the ball”.

Elliott Anderson, Aaron Cruickshank, Adam Fussell and Luke Powell helped Bryn B go through with a 4-2 victory at Llandybie RFC; Dar Sigsworth and Sion Isaac won for the latter.

Cross Hands A squeezed through 4-3 away at Pont Cons B, whilst Adrian Davies, Cory Jenkins, Dean Shoulder and Nathan Brain gave Matchroom Blacks a 4-2 passage at the expense of the Gremlin Club.

Upper Tumble Reds knocked out New Lodge, winning 4-2, and there were “byes” into the next round for Llandybie Social B and Burry Port Reading Room Reds.

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Davies to captain Scarlets for 2021/22 season

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WALES international and British & Irish Lion Jonathan ‘Fox’ Davies will captain the Scarlets for the 2021-22 season.

Former Ysgol Dyffryn Taf pupil Davies has played 170 matches for the Scarlets since making his debut in 2006 and is one of the most decorated centres in international rugby having won 91 caps for Wales and represented the Lions in the Test series in Australia 2013 and New Zealand in 2017.

It will be his second stint wearing the Scarlets armband having been a co-captain along with Rob McCusker in 2013.

‘Foxy’ takes the reins from hooker Ken Owens who led the Scarlets for a record-equalling seven successive seasons.

“Jon is one of the most respected players in the game, someone with a huge amount of experience at all levels,” said Scarlets head coach Dwayne Peel

“He has been a leader amongst our group for a number of years now and certainly since I have been here his leadership qualities have been there for all to see, on and off the training field.

“Foxy is the ultimate professional – when he speaks people listen. The way he conducts himself is an example to every player in the squad.

“He has been a big part of this club for a long time; he has grown up in the region, played his junior rugby here and it is clear that wearing the Scarlets jersey means a huge amount to him.”

Paying tribute to Davies’s predecessor Owens, Peel added: “Ken has been a fantastic leader for us over the last seven years and will continue to have a huge part to play in the leadership of this group.”

Davies, who captained Wales during the recent summer internationals in Cardiff, said: “It is a massive honour to be handed the Scarlets captaincy, you only have to look at the captain’s board to see so many great players and icons of the game who have led the club.

“I am fortunate that there will be a strong leadership group around me – British & Irish Lions and experienced Wales internationals who have enjoyed success at domestic and Test level. Those players also know there is a hard-working, driven group of youngsters pushing them for the jersey. There is a really exciting mix to the squad.”

Davies added: “Winning the PRO12 title with the Scarlets four years ago remains one of the highlights of my career and there is a real ambition and hunger among the players and coaching group to reach those levels again.

“There has been a good buzz about pre-season, the boys have worked really hard and we’re all looking forward to the start of the new URC season in Edinburgh on Saturday.

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Scarlets appoint Phil John as Academy coach

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FORMER prop Phil John is back at the Scarlets having been appointed to the role of Academy skills coach.

John made 330 Scarlets appearances over 17 seasons and holds the record for the most Scarlets matches played in the regional era.

Since hanging up his playing boots following his final game against Glasgow in 2016, he has worked with the RGC 1404 Academy and alongside another ex-Scarlet Mark Jones with the Premiership team in North Wales.

He also has experience coaching with the Llanelli RFC Premiership side and as an assistant to Danny Wilson for the Scarlets.

John, who started out on a rugby apprenticeship scheme at Stradey Park, replaces Emyr Phillips who becomes the Scarlets transition coach overseeing the academy players who are training with the senior side.

“It’s good to be back at Parc y Scarlets and I’m looking forward to working with a talented group of young players who have bright futures in the game,” said John.

“When you look at the players who were in the Academy five years ago when I was here, they are now starting week in week out for the Scarlets, it is great to see the journeys they have been on.

“The Scarlets Academy has a proud tradition of being a production line for the senior side and I’m excited by this opportunity to help make sure that continues.”

Scarlets Development Pathway Manager Kevin George added: “For us, this appointment was about getting the balance right in the coaching group with Emyr having been promoted to oversee the transition players.

“We had a lot of interest in the post and Phil, with his experience working with academies and the commitment he gave to North Wales, came out very strongly. We are delighted to have him on board to help nurture the next generation of Scarlets.”

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