Gold, gold and gold.
That is the four-word summary as Birtley’s brilliant trio of the McCormack brothers, Luke and Pat, plus Mark Dickinson clinched glory at the famous Gee Bee Tournament in Finland.
The McCormacks and Dickinson won half of England’s tally of six titles on an amazing finals day in Helsinki for GB Boxing.
And to cap a great day and tournament, Luke came away with the best male boxer of the tournament trophy.
A total of 99 boxers contested the 38th edition of the Gee Bee competition with Kazakhstan, Russia and the USA sending teams which only emphasises the achievement of the Birtley boys.
Luke McCormack had enjoyed a busy and emphatic route to the final in the Finnish capital, ousting India’s Ankit Khatana, Atichai Phoemsap (Thailand) and France’s Sofiane Oumiha.
He looked as though he could have his work cut out in the light-welterweight final against Russia’s Youth Olympic Games winner and EUBC European Youth Champion, 18-year-old Ilia Popov.
However, Luke stamped his authority from the first round, with some crisp combinations and, maintaining a good pace, carried that into round two, when he wobbled the teenage southpaw with a right.
Four lefts at the end of the middle session from Popov were a reminder that the boxer in red was a danger, but Luke was strong in the last, which included a left-right which drove Ilia into the ropes.
Luke won via a split decision, the Swedish judge giving him all three rounds with the officials from Lithuania and Finland marking it 29-28. The French and Kazakhstan judges went 29-28 to Popov but Luke deserved gold.
Pat McCormack followed his twin into the ring in the next final, demolishing India’s Dinesh Dagar at welterweight.
It was a clinical display from the Commonwealth champion who simply didn’t miss, landing with some heavy shots.
A thumping body combination brought a standing eight count for Dinesh in the first round and while Dagar began the middle round with spirit, it was short-lived.
Pat rained in combination after combination with Dinesh taking two more standing counts following head blows, with the referee accepting the Indian corner’s retirement at the end of round two.
Earlier in the tournament, Pat outpointed Freudis Rojas (USA), Canada’s Wyatt Sanford and Talgat Saiken (Kazakhstan) to reach the final.
Birtley’s teen sensation Dickinson (pictured right) produced an excellent display to beat his Russian opponent, Vadim Tukov in a very entertaining scrap.
The 19-year-old, like his team-mates, began in the preliminary round, eliminating Max Van Der Pas of the Netherlands via a split decision before outpointing Finland’s Santeri Laine and another teenager Kazakhstan’s AIBA Youth World Champion Nurbek Oralbay in the semi.
Dickinson made a fast start in the middleweight final and didn’t mind mixing it inside.
While Mark took a shot for his troubles, he would dish out two or three punches to every one the Russian threw.
The second round also featured considerable action at close quarters, Tukov obsessed with body shots with Dickinson producing the more quantity and quality.
Dickinson attempted to stay out of range in the last round and that saw the Russian boxer come forward and take the round on four of the the five judges’ cards.
But Mark had done the hard work in the first two sessions and won via a split verdict, France, India and Kazakhstan’s judges scoring it 29-28 with the officials of Sweden and Finland marking it 29-28 to Tukov.
GB Boxing sent a team of seven to Helsinki and six struck gold.
Ben Whittaker was victorious at U81 kilos before Cheavon Clarke took the title at heavyweight, beating Kazakhstan’s Youth Olympic Games winner Aibek Oralbay.
There was glory too at super-heavy where Frazer Clarke won the competition.
Words: Roy Kelly