A TRIO of Berkshire-based boxers enhanced their growing reputations following wins at The Centre, Slough.

Darren Codona, John Saunders and debutante Chris Rackley all fought successfully on the undercard of George Michael Carman's battle for the IBO Light Welterweight World Youth title.

And, despite varying degrees of in-ring experience, the trio have all set their sights on one day emulating Carman - now a double world youth champion.

Codona contested only the second six-round bout of his career when beating Michael Monaghan 58-57 in the penultimate contest on Friday night.

The cruiserweight star of the future told the Observer: "I was meant to go six rounds on my last fight but it only lasted one [total knockout win against Oleksiy Chukov, September 15].

"I was supposed to be fighting Dan Blackwell who likes boxing on his back foot. So I was training to come forward again.

"But a week and a half before the fight I had to change and watch the videos over again.

"I realised Michael likes to throw a few shots over so I had to box on my back foot and be a bit smart about the situation.

"I do not usually box on the back foot, I'm usually an aggressive fighter." Codona, 19, continued: "Michael Monaghan has been in with the greatest, the likes of Carl Froch and Matthew Macklin.

"I changed my style a little bit and fought off the back foot, but it was still a win and I've learnt a lot.

"I adapt very well. If I need to go forward I'll come forward, if I need to go back I go back.

"I will do another one or two six-round fights and then jump up to either the British Masters or Youth World title after." Saunders made it two from two with an impressive 40-36 win against Elemier Rafael in a four-round bout in front of his hometown crowd.

And the son of John Saunders Snr, a leading professional during the 1990s, also has ambitions of future title opportunities.

He said: "Elemier is a tough man, a tough journeymen and I have got a lot of respect for him.

"He has had 85 fights and I've only had one contest so I thought I handled him very well.

"I have learnt a lot fighting better opponents." Saunders added: "I am aiming for bigger things, these are just stepping stones really.

"It is all gym work at the moment, I'm hoping to fight for the Southern Area title in a couple of years.

"I am hoping for a British title shot. As long as I'm learning and training hard I will get there." Debutant Rackley opened proceedings at The Centre with a 40-37 victory over Julius Rafael.

The Maidenhead-based brawler entered the ring with little experience - just 10 amateur bouts with Slough Amateur Boxing Club - but dominated his Slovakian opponent throughout the four, three-minute rounds.

Rackley beamed: "I am delighted, I'm over the moon.

"I felt great in there - it was pretty straightforward.

"The game plan was to be direct, we have been practising in the gym and watched Julius.

"He was a strong boy but I outboxed him, I did what I needed to do." He continued: "I am going to take it step by step. Do everything right, not rush anything and take the opportunities when they come.

"I hope to get back into the ring in the next three months.

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