Talented Sporting Youngsters Feature - Joseph Felice


Joseph is a great advertisement for The Yard ABC

Joseph Felice ready to trainWhen Joseph Felice came runner-up in his weight category at the recent Welsh Amateur Boxing Championship at Ebbw Vale Sports Centre there was naturally a measure of disappointment but it was linked to a deserved sense of pride because he had boxed really well to win his semi-final the day before.
Joseph trains three times a week with coaches Kenneth Owen and Rowland George at The Yard ABC in Letterston and they are very quick to sing his praises and Kenneth told us soon afterwards,
“Joseph is a great advertisement for our sport because he is totally committed, sets the pace in training and hasn’t let some earlier defeats upset him: Indeed, they have simply made him even more determined to box on and train even harder.”

Family matters . . .

Joseph isn’t your typical 17 year-old in this tough sport because he is very analytical about his boxing - and readily admits that he played rugby until he was entering his teens but then stopped taking part because he found it too physical for him at that time.
So, he didn’t take part in any sport for a while but sometimes pretended to ‘square up’ to his father John at home, who was a very good hooker or flanker for Haverfordwest and eventually played international rugby for Malta, the birthplace of his father.
His uncle Phil played prop for Haverfordwest and Malta;  and he says Phil and his auntie Cheryl are others who have given him every encouragement.
Joseph’s dad and mum Faye - and big sister Mia, who plays hockey for Pembrokeshire,  encouraged him to go to a boxing club and it was mum who messaged coach Kenneth and he was soon being driven there from the family home in Clarbeston Road to try it out.

A nervous start but gradually gaining in confidence as he received his medical card

“I was a bit nervous,” admitted Joseph, “and to be honest I was quite clumsy, especially with regard to the skipping which starts the sessions - but I’ve learned since to get the sense of rhythm that it needs and find it a great way to warm-up.
“Pretty soon I started to get a grip of things with all the equipment and also in sparring and began to gain in confidence because the coaches are brilliant and didn’t try to hurry me along, which I really appreciated - and it took me about a year before I decided I was ready to apply for the medical card which meant I could start thinking about taking part in boxing.
“So, I had my medical, filled out all the forms and within a fortnight it was back, telling me I could now take part in amateur bouts under the rules of the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association.”

Joseph with coaches Rowland George and Ken Owen

On the road with three defeats to ‘good friend’ Will

Joseph’s first bout came in the Welsh Novices Championships in Swansea  and after receiving a bye in the semi-final he took on Will Mather, of Gwynfi ABC, who had already boxed a few times.
“The first round went well but right at the end I got caught by a punch that the referee thought was too good for me and he stopped the fight.
“I then took on Will Mather a second time a bit later on his own show and this time I lost on points but felt pleased I had stayed the distance against a very good boxer on his home show - and we met a third time on Pembroke Dock ABC’s show at the Pater Hall.
“Will made it a hat-trick of wins against me but only on a split-decision verdict and he said afterwards that he thought he had lost it - and we are still good friends as we go on Instagram together quite often.”
There was still no luck for Joseph as his fourth contest was on three Box Cup at Sophia Gardens and lost against Chad Williams (Kenfig Hill ABC) but he says that he could feel a real improvement and it made it all the difference to his confidence. 

Joseph punches on the heavy bag

Fifth time lucky for eager Joseph – and a Welsh runners-up medal

And it was a case of ‘fifth time - deserved winner’ in the recent Welsh Novices Championship as he took on Keenan Boggan, who hails from Anglesey.

“I was thrilled when the verdict was announced and the referee raised my arm up- and no-one was more delighted than my mum, who never misses a bout and is easily the loudest shouter in the hall!

That was on the Saturday and Joseph had to travel up to travel up to Ebbw Vale again the next day for his final against  McKenzie McCann (Gilfach Goch) and in a cracking bout he lost on a split decision - another disappointment but a step in the right direction because both coaches said that he had boxed really well and it could have gone either way!
Joseph shadow-boxingAnd finally . . .
So now Joseph is back in training at The Yard every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening, alongside running or weight training on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays - with a bit of a rest on Sundays.
“It might seem a lot but I am really enjoying my involvement at the club and training on my own the other days.
“I would say to anyone thinking about going for the first time that they should give it a try - like I did - because they will have every encouragement from Kenneth and Rowland; don’t have to box if they don’t want to and can just get fitter by going regularly.”
We at PembrokeshireSport.co.uk can only say that we were very impressed by Joseph Felice’s attitude and commitment, which we witnessed on a cold, wet night where he gave total commitment before we enjoyed our chat with him!

Joseph on the pads with Rowland George