HARWICH Amateur Boxing Club’s John Wheatley dug deep to lift an Eastern Counties crown.

The reigning Essex elite welterweight champion defeated Liam Goodjohn, of Haddenham, in the elite final on Canvey Island.

Wheatley drew on his experience and dug deep to be awarded a split decision victory.

With a place in the pre quarter-final up for grabs, both boxers made a cagey start in the opening round, with neither looking to over-commit.

Wheatley countered on the back foot, as Goodjohn advanced.

Wheatley seized the initiative in the second round, upping his punch-rate and countering his taller opponent with eye-catching three and four-punch combinations.

Goodjohn piled on the pressure in the final round of this three by three-minute contest.

Harwich senior Wheatley had a standing-eight count, despite the punch seeming a little low.

Goodjohn went on to recieve an official warning for low punching but a frantic pace remained with both boxers having their successes in a hard-fought contest.

However, Wheatley continued to battle and was awarded a split decision victory, to lift the Eastern Counties crown.

He has now fought his way through to the pre quarter-final stage of the championships, to be held in Aldershot tomorrow.

Wheatley has been drawn against Joe Luis D’Santos, of Woking, with the winner advancing to the Elite ABA quarter-finals.