Category Archives: Amateur

March 13, 2018
March 13, 2018
Frazer Clarke

World Series Boxing

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EUROPEAN championship silver medallist, Frazer Clarke, is one of the three boxers from the GB Boxing squad in the British Lionhearts line-up for the team’s second away match of the 2018 season in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) against Italia Thunder, on Friday March 16 in Milan.

Clarke is unbeaten in seven WSB bouts over the last two seasons and takes on Guido Vianello in the super-heavyweight contest.

He is joined in the team by U22 European bronze medallist, Will Cawley, who will box at flyweight and welterweight, Cyrus Pattinson. Two overseas selections, Dzmitry Asanau (Belarus), at lightweight, and light-heavyweight, Joe Ward (Ireland), complete the line-up.

Clarke said: “I can’t wait to be back in the ring as I’ve been out a long time with injuries. I guess you could say I’m really excited but also a little nervous. I know that I’ve got a tough bout, against a good fighter, but I have prepared well and am more than up for the challenge.

“So far the team has done great this season. There are lots of new faces within the team and this has really spurred me on to get back into WSB. Hopefully we will come away with the away victory in Italy and be able to push on further in the competition.”

Frazer Clarke

The two teams met a fortnight ago at the Lionhearts’ home match in Liverpool when British Team whitewashed the Italians 5-0. They currently sit second in the four-team group with seven points with the Italians in third with four.

The France Fighting Roosters top the group on nine points and will face the British Lionhearts on Saturday April 14 2018 at The Newport Centre in Newport. Tickets for this match are on sale now at

February 6, 2018
February 6, 2018
Commonwealth Games


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TEAM England will send a 12 strong boxing team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia which starts on 4 April.  In total 8 men and 4 women will travel to the Gold Coast to compete for team and country

Team England will send a 12 strong boxing team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia which starts on 4 April.  In total 8 men and 4 women will travel to the Gold Coast to compete for team and country.

Welterweight, Pat McCormack, competed for England at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Team GB at Rio 2016 and is a two-time European Championships silver medalist.

He said, “It’s great to be selected for the Commonwealth Games.  I competed at the one in Glasgow but I was young and inexperienced then and did not win a medal.  Since then I have been to the World championships twice, won two silver medals the Europeans and been to an Olympic Games so I will have a lot more confidence and experience going into the competition this time.

“I have always wanted to go travelling to Australia, so to be able to go there through boxing is even better.  I know it will be a tough tournament but I have trained hard and I am going there to win gold.

“Competing alongside my twin brother [Luke McCormack, who has been selected at light-welterweight] will make the tournament event more exciting, and if we both come home with gold, it will definitely put us out there. We just need to make sure that we perform on the day.”

Commonwealth Games

2014 flyweight World championship silver medalist and 2016 European championship bronze medalist, Lisa Whiteside said, “It is absolutely fantastic to be selected for the Commonwealth Games, it will be my first multisport event and to represent England on the Gold Coast feels unreal. Boxing’s major tournaments don’t always get covered on TV, so to be competing and knowing that my friends and family back home will be able to watch is going to be out of this world.  I am feeling confident, my ultimate goal is to go out there and win that gold medal. I have a few tournaments coming up in preparation, and I will make sure that when I arrive on the Gold Coast that I’m the fittest and strongest that I’ve ever been.”

Commonwealth Games boxing medals have helped to launch the career of some of England’s best ever boxers including Richie Woodhall, Nicola Adams and James DeGale.

Team Leader Darren Chapple said, “I’m pleased that we’ve announced a strong team of 12 athletes. This team has two Olympians and a wealth of experience between them however for the majority of the team this will be their first taste of the Commonwealth Games.

“I know that they are all excited and they are all going to be focused on performing at their best. We know there will be tough competition during the Games especially with strong teams from our other home nations like Scotland, Wales and Ireland and not forgetting of course our host nation Australia too who will have a huge home following.”

Team England Chef de Mission Sarah Winckless said, “English boxing is in an extremely strong position and to be able to welcome 12 boxers to the team this week give me great pleasure. The women’s side of the sport goes from strength to strength and I look forward to working with our four talented female athletes. Our male team is also strong and notably contains two brothers, Pat and Luke McCormack, and two Olympians alongside 10 debutants. It is an exciting mix and one I look forward to supporting at the Games.”

The Team England boxing squad in full is: Galal Yafai (49kgs), Lisa Whiteside (51kgs), Peter McGrail (56kgs), Calum French (60kgs), Paige Murney (60kgs), Luke McCormack (64kgs), Pat McCormack (69kgs), Sandy Ryan (69kgs), Ben Whittaker (75kgs), Natasha Gale (75kgs), Cheavon Clarke (91kgs) and Frazer Clarke (91kgs).

February 6, 2018
February 6, 2018
Muhammad Ali

Greg Woodward/GB Boxing

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BRITISH Olympic boxer Muhammad Ali has been given a two-year ban after testing positive for a steroid last year, the sport’s world governing body AIBA has announced.

His failed test came when he was fighting for the British Lionhearts in their World Series of Boxing (WSB) match against the Morocco Atlas Lions in Casablanca last April.

Trace elements of Trenbolone, a powerful and widely abused anabolic steroid, were found in his urine sample and he was suspended in May, which means he will be eligible to compete again in May 2019.

The 21-year-old Yorkshireman has already stated his desire to fight for a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where he had been considered a medal prospect.

A silver medallist at the 2014 World Youth Championships and 2016 European Championships, Ali lost in the first round of the flyweight competition at the Games in 2016 but was the highest-ranked fighter in his WSB division at the time of his positive.

In a statement, AIBA said it “welcomes and fully supports the anti-doping testing procedure” at its competitions and is working with the World Anti-Doping Agency “to ensure that boxing is doping-free”.

Ali, who has strongly protested his innocence of any intentional wrongdoing, is the first member of the GB Boxing squad to fail a drugs test for a banned substance.

A spokesperson for GB Boxing told Press Association Sport: “We have noted the conclusion of AIBA’s findings on this issue and that it is of the opinion that the athlete did not take the prohibited substances with the intention to cheat.

“GB Boxing is committed to clean sport and we work with UK Anti-Doping and our international federation to provide extensive education and support to our boxers on anti-doping rules, the anti-doping obligations upon them as athletes and the importance of adhering to the principles of clean sport.”

January 28, 2018
January 28, 2018

World Series of Boxing

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AIBA, the international governing body for Olympic boxing, has made Gafur Rakhimov, a man shrouded in controversy, the organisation’s new Interim president.

Previous president Dr. Ching Kuo Wu stepped down last year after a protracted dispute over allegations of financial mismanagement at AIBA. Issues around a $10 million loan from Azerbaijan-based company Benkons left AIBA facing the threat of bankruptcy. Rakhimov has been integral to reaching a settlement with Benkons.

Franco Falcinelli then stepped in as Interim president. Despite an understanding that Wu would be named Honorary President, that was rejected in a vote at an Extraordinary Congress which AIBA held in Dubai on Saturday (January 27).

At the meeting Falcinelli resigned as Interim president and Rakhimov was appointed in his place, according to AIBA statutes. Rakhimov is a long serving Vice President at AIBA. He has also been sanctioned by the United States Department of the Treasury, no less, for alleged links to a significant “transnational criminal organisation,” the Thieves-in-Law. The action taken by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control last month prevents US persons from conducting financial or other transactions with the individuals and entities it designated, and froze any assets they may have under American jurisdiction.

“The Thieves-in-Law is a Eurasian crime syndicate that has been linked to a long list of illicit activity across the globe,” OFAC Director John E. Smith said. “Treasury is designating the Thieves-in-Law as part of a broader strategy to disrupt the financial infrastructure of transnational criminal organisations that pose a threat to the United States and our allies.”

In a statement the Treasury department said, “Gafur Rakhimov is being designated for providing material support to the Thieves-in-Law. Rakhimov has collaborated with Thieves-in-Law on business, as well as assisted Thieves-in-Law by providing warning of law enforcement issues, arranging meetings, and addressing other problems. Rakhimov has been described as having moved from extortion and car theft to becoming one of Uzbekistan’s leading criminals and an important person involved in the heroin trade.” He has not however been prosecuted of anything.

Rakhimov though told the Extraordinary Congress that he would restore transparency and financial stability to AIBA. “We must work closely with national federations and with the International Olympic Committee to restore confidence in AIBA’s financial management and in its integrity,” he said. “This means greater transparency and improved corporate governance of AIBA, together with independent audits that are conducted in the light of day and not hidden from the AIBA Executive Committee and national federations as happened last year.”

“Now is the time for us all to unite,” he continued. “Our greatest responsibility must be to the millions of fans around the world who love boxing and want to be inspired by world-class boxing. We owe it to the fans to make boxing great again.”

To Falcinelli, Rakhimov “is a great ambassador for our sport”. Falcinelli added, “I am confident that he will provide the leadership to restore AIBA to greatness.”

An election to decide a permanent president for AIBA is due to take place later this year.

January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018
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The British Lionhearts box the Croatian Knights at the Gateshead Leisure Centre on Friday, February 16. Click HERE for tickets information

Video: British Lionhearts

January 24, 2018
January 24, 2018
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Video: British Lionhearts

The British Lionhearts box the Croatian Knights at the Gateshead Leisure Centre on Friday, February 16. Click HERE for tickets information

December 6, 2017
December 6, 2017
Commonwealth Games

Action Images

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AMERICAN men remain top of the boxing medal table at the Summer Olympics. Cuban men dominate the World championships medal haul; while England’s men reign supreme in the Commonwealth Games ring medal tally. Women only competed, for the first time, in the boxing ring at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014.

Australia’ Gold Coast, situated in Brisbane, hosts the XX1 Commonwealth Games in April 2018. The Commonwealth Games as they are now known, take place every four years. Let us reflect for a moment or two on a brief history of the Games. They started in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in August  1930 and were known as the British Empire Games until 1950. From 1950 until 1966 they were cast as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games; while in 1970 and 1974 they were called the British Commonwealth Games. From 1978 they have simply been recognised as the Commonwealth Games (or overall for the purpose of these columns simply described as the “Games”).

Boxing has been included in the Games sporting programme since the inaugural days. It is a core sport and must be included in the sporting programme of each Games. At the inaugural Games in 1930, England won five of the eight titles and apart from a few barren Games, England has remained in that pole medal position.

Nine separate countries have hosted the Games as follows: Australia 5 times (including 2018); Canada 4; New Zealand 3, Scotland 3; England 2; India 1, Jamaica 1; Malaysia 1 and Wales 1.

As with other major international sporting events, the Games have not been without political or racial controversy. For instance, the second Games of 1934 were originally awarded to Johannesburg  in South Africa, but were eventually switched to London, following concern about how South Africa would treat black and Asian competitors. South Africa took part in the Games from 1930 to 1958 and then from 1994 to date. Because of this country’s then apartheid policy, South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1961, but was re-admitted in 1994.

In 1978, Nigeria boycotted the Edmonton Games in Canada, because of New Zealand’s sporting links with the then apartheid South Africa. Uganda also stayed away but for other political reasons.

However, the 1986 Games in Edinburgh, were to use the Scottish word were blighted by a huge “kerfuffle” with 32 countries, mainly African, Asian and Caribbean countries staying away out of a total of 59 eligible to participate. They objected to the then Thatcher Government policy of keeping sporting links with the then apartheid South Africa in preference to participating in the general sporting boycott of that country. In the event, only 86 actually competed out of an original entry of 168. It was also understood that the issue was further complicated in that the South African runner Zola Budd and swimmer Annette Cowley , who had obtained British passports, were included in the English team.

A very sad situation, but one illustrating, yet again, the power of politics in sport and how it can affect an individual event and of course, the sporting careers of those “would be competitors” at that time. Boycotts, for whatever reason are sad because they deny competitors the right to demonstrate their skills and let us not forget on a four year Games cycle, many will not have had another chance to take part in a subsequent Games.

Four countries have at times been suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations, two of them, Pakistan and Fiji on two occasions. Nigeria was suspended in November 1995, its suspension ended in May 1999; Zimbabwe was suspended in March 2002 and then left the Commonwealth family in December 2003.

Pakistan was first suspended in October 1999 which then ended in May 2004 and then again in November 2007 which was then lifted in May 2008. Fiji’s initial suspension occurred in June 2000 ending in December 2001 and its second suspension took place in December 2006 and was ended in September 2014. However, their participation in activities of the Commonwealth Family were not necessarily affected; although Nigeria was suspended from the Games in 1998 and Fiji likewise in 2010. Fiji did however attend the Games in Glasgow in 2014.

When Zimbabwe left the Commonwealth of Nations in December 2003, they had achieved a ring medal tally of 14 medals – 1 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze. The gold medal was won in 1954, in Vancouver, by the classy southpaw lightweight, Pieter Van Staden from Southern Rhodesia, the predecessor state of the modern Zimbabwe.

It seems that home advantage does not really aid boxing medallists at the Games as only two host countries have so far come out as best medal winning nations on their own turf. England in the second ever Games in 1934 and Canada in 1994. The best nations with their respective medal triumphs are as follows: England 7 times, South Africa 3 times (perhaps quite surprising given their many absences from the Games); Kenya 3 times; Canada 2 times; Ghana 2 times; Australia, Northern Ireland and Uganda each once.

So now to the hard stuff, the medal winning countries and later on those many outstanding performers in individual weight categories from their respective countries.

Commonwealth Games

Starting with top six countries on the medal table in gold, silver and bronze order we find: England 54, 27, 37 (118); Canada 25, 22, 35 (82); Scotland 17, 16, 30 (63); Australia 15, 15, 32 (62); South Africa 15,8,11 (34); Northern Ireland 13, 13, 27 (53).

Then going down the table as follows we have: Nigeria 13, 6,17 (36); Kenya 12, 13, 23 (48); Ghana 9, 10, 13 (32); Uganda 8, 10, 15 (33); New Zealand 6, 6, 20 (32); India 5, 9, 14 (28); Wales 4, 13, 20 (37). Zambia and Jamaica each have two gold along with various silver and bronze.

There are eight countries with one gold and medals of other colours namely: Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Pakistan, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Guyana and Malaysia; while Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has a solitary gold. At least 16 other countries have attained medals of a hue other than gold. Many of them achieving both silver and bronze successes.

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland triumphs are sporting successes to savour, long may this important trend continue.

Now comes the really difficult part of this exercise, choosing many of the Games medallists, some known just for their amateur exploits; others for their subsequent successes too in the professional ring. Remember please it is only an opinion even if it is mine, at least it should open up debate and discussion. Boxing is nothing without that is it?

So here goes – all those listed are Commonwealth Games gold medallists, unless they achieved either silver or bronze which is documented thus. For ease of reference the boxers are listed in weight categories, some of which are no longer contested these days at the Games. The predominance of boxers from the four home countries reflects their success to some extent in the overall medal table. Often some other outstanding medal achievements are also documented, although not necessarily obtained in the specific weight categories in which they achieved their Games successes, nor on similar dates. No discourtesy is intended towards any boxers left out of my choices, it is pure and simply my own opinion, for what it may or may not be worth.

I hope that many of our readers will forgive me for not listing all of the formal achievements of my choices, although for special interest it has been done so in some cases.


Light Fly – Mickey Abrams (Eng – bronze) and 3 times ABA champion at this weight. 1970 was the first time that this weight had been introduced in the Games and one year later for that matter into the National Senior ABA Championships.

Stephen Muchoki (Kenya – Twice champion)

Darren Langley (Eng –Twice silver) 3 times ABA champion

Paddy Barnes (NIR – Twice champion) Also 2 Olympic bronze medals


Jackie Brown (Scot)

Hughie Russell (NIR –bronze)

John Lyon (Eng) also achieved silver at Light Fly in 1982. Eight times ABA champion (4 light-fly, 4 fly). Arguably the best English amateur boxer in domestic competition in modern era.

Wayne McCullough (NIR)


Johnny van Rensburg (South Af)

Howard Winstone (Wales)

Eddie Ndukwu (Nig) Two golds one at featherweight

Pat Cowdell (Eng)

Barry McGuigan (NIR)

Michael Conlan (NIR) Gold at Worlds and Bronze at Olympics


Philip Waruinge (Ken) Two golds also Olympic bronze (plus Val Barker Trophy) and silver medal

Peter Konyegwachie (Ghana) also Olympic silver in 1984

Azumah Nelson (Ghana)

Alex Arthur (Scot)

Stephen Smith (Eng)


Dick McTaggart (Scot), also Olympic gold and bronze and also silver too at Games at light-welter. 5 times ABA champion spanning lightweight and light-welterweight titles. Arguably the greatest amateur boxer ever to come from these islands – did not turn professional

Ayub Kalule (Uga)

Frankie Gavin (Eng) also gold at World Championships – still England’s only male World amateur champion

Light welter

Clement Quartey

Darren Barker (Eng)

Josh Taylor (Scot) also silver at lightweight at previous Games


Nicky Gargano (Eng), bronze at Olympic Games  in 1956, three times ABA welterweight champion. An outstanding amateur who never turned professional

Mike McCallum (Jam)

David Defiagbon (Nig) later won silver at Olympics in 1996 under the flag of Canada at heavyweight

Callum Smith (Eng)

Light middle

Lottie Mwale (Zam)

Shawn O’Sullivan (Can) also silver at 1984 Olympics and gold at World championships

Richie Woodhall (Eng) and also bronze at 1988 Olympics

Chris Bessey (Eng) Six times ABA champion (different weights)


John Conteh (Eng)

Rod Douglas (Eng) 3 times ABA light-middle champion

James Degale (Eng) Bronze and later Olympic champion in 2008 also 2 ABA titles

Anthony Ogogo (Eng) Silver and Olympic bronze in 2012

Vijender Singh (Ind) 2 silvers and 1 Bronze; Bronzes at both Worlds and Olympics. Arguably, India’s most prolific male international boxing medallist.

Light Heavy

Tony Madigan (Aus) 2 golds and a silver, bronze at the 1960 Olympics and an ABA title with the then Fulham ABC while residing in London

Fatai Ayinla (Nig) also 2 silver and a Bronze at Worlds

Dale Brown (Canada) also silver and 2 bronze at Worlds


Daniel Bekker (South Af) Silver at 1960 Olympics

Dave Thomas (Eng) Silver, beaten in the Games final by Dan Bekker. London’s “Fighting Dustman” won 3 ABA heavyweight titles

Willie de Wit (Can) also silver at Olympics

James Peau (NZ aka Jimmy Thunder )

Super Heavy

Lennox Lewis (Can) Inaugural Games champion at this weight, also Olympic inaugural champion at this weight in 1988

Paea Wolfgramm (Tonga) Bronze and Silver at 1996 Olympics outpointed by none other than Wladimir Klitschko in the final

Audley Harrison (Eng) also Olympic champion in 2000 and also 2 ABA titles

David Dolan (Eng) won 3 ABA Heavyweight titles

David Price (Eng) Olympic bronze medallist and Team captain for boxing, also won 3 ABA super heavyweight titles

Joe Joyce (Eng) Silver at 2016 Olympics, also bronze at Worlds and won 2 ABA super heavyweight championships

Women’s boxing was included at the Games in Glasgow in 2014 for the first time, only three weights being contested. England won two gold. As she did at London 2012, England’s flyweight Nicola Adams won the Games first ever women’s boxing gold medal. English middleweight, Savannah Marshall also claimed gold while, Australian, Shelley Watts took gold in the lightweight division.

Silvers went to Northern Ireland, India and Canada, with bronze medals being claimed by: India, Canada, Northern Ireland, Mozambique, Wales and Nigeria.

Well, our journey is almost complete, the Games have played a very important part in amateur boxing over almost 90 years. They have helped establish some as fine amateurs who went on to greater World and Olympic glory and also for some they have proved a trusted pathway to world professional championship glory. Let’s give three rousing cheers for the Games, long may they continue.