IRISH eyes were smiling after their young boxers came out on top in an international charity boxing competition in Basingstoke.

The Hampshire Court Hotel, in Chineham, was the new, and successful, setting for the annual boxing event organised by The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane.

The black-tie event – for which the main sponsors were local firms Centerprise International, Southern Communications and Mercedes-Benz, of Basingstoke – saw the 400-plus guests enjoy an excellent dinner and a feast of fine boxing as a team from England took on rivals from Ireland.

There were seven bouts in all, including two bouts involving women boxers, and many were close-fought contests. However, last Friday evening’s spoils went to the Irish squad as they triumphed in four of the seven bouts.

The evening got off to a flying start for the England team as Joe Baylis won his 52kg bout against Thomas Morgan, but the Irish boxers won the following two contests.

The honours were even in the women’s bouts, so Fearghus Quinn’s success in bout six meant the visitors would be going home as winners.

The big winners from the evening overall will be the local good causes who will benefit from the £16,500 raised by the well-supported event.

The charity coffers were boosted by a prize draw and an auction for which the prize was a two-centre two-week luxury villa holiday for 10 people in Florida.

The prize, donated by Terry Thornhill’s Toucan Travel, in Chineham, worth approximately £5,000, was snapped up by a lucky bidder for £2,300.

Helen Ricketts, president of The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane, thanked Rotarians Roy Sands and Paul Temple for their hard work in spearheading the organisation of the popular event.

She added: “This evening would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors for this event, and Dan Kelly and his team at The Hampshire Court Hotel, to whom we are very grateful.

“This event represents one of the biggest fundraisers for The Rotary Club of Basingstoke Deane, and through the generous support of all who attended, we will be able to support many worthy causes.”