BEN Smith made it through to a national championship final after putting in what his coach said was his career best performance.

The High Wycombe Boxing Club member booked his place in next week's final U60kg final with a unanimous points decision over John Cooney.

It means Smith has a shot at claiming his second national title in Manchester on Sunday, having been crowned champion in 2012.

But a possible double for High Wycombe fell away at the semi final stage, as Joseph Molloy was beaten in the U56kg category by Charlie Kenny from West Ham.

A threatened comeback from Molloy in the second round ended in Kenny upping his game, eventually forcing the referee to step in and call a halt to the contest.

Coach John Macinnes said: "It's bitter sweet for me today as I was confident of both our lads progressing to the finals but it wasn't to be.

"Joseph has worked so hard with his father, James, and was ready for undoubtably his toughest test to date. Unfortunately something just didn't click today but I'm sure he will come back stronger and wiser. He boxed well to get to the semi finals and has left the competition with a top four ranking in England.

"Ben however lifted himself to new heights with what I believe to be his best ever performance. His speed of both hand and foot is frightening for his opponents and his tactical awareness is way beyond his years, I really believe he is destined to go to very top."

He added: "Also I was very pleased that some of our club members, friends and family made the long trip to Portsmouth to cheer on and show their support to our lads in action, so a big thank you to them."