• Andrea Jenkins

Brunel boxer narrowly misses out on national glory

So close: Billal Berkoun

BRUNEL journalism student Billal Berkoun narrowly missed out on becoming a national boxing champion at the weekend when he lost the final of the England Senior Development Championships by a split decision.

Berkoun, 21, of West London, had already been crowned London Champion on November 20 in the welterweight division and had gone to the Sports Paddock at the University of East London last weekend hoping to take things one step further. He had previously beaten three other regional champions over the past three few weeks, and this booked him a spot in the final on Saturday December 11 against Midlands Champion Amara Kabba. And he looked on course for national glory in his category at the end of an exciting bout as the judges conferred to make their decision. Sadly, for Berkoun, the judges voted 3-2 against him - the narrowest possible margin of defeat - and he ended up on the losing side. This was a bitter end to a tough year where Berkoun had competed and fought nine times in a period of just over two months. He said: "I really enjoyed getting in there representing my club and city whilst mixing it up with the best in the country. Now it's time over the next couple of weeks to focus on letting my body heal and catching up on some university work." However, the undergraduate student hopes to return to the ring in the future and win the national championship one day, as well as making it into the British Olympic squad. He said: "It won't be easy getting back here to the final next year, I beat a lot of very good fighters and went through wars with most of them, but I am confident regardless that I'll be able to position myself as number 1 in the country, God willing."

Billal and his medal for London Senior Development Champion 2021