When you first heard they might get rid of lightweight [merging 60kgs and 64kgs to make a 63kgs weight division in the Olympic], what was your reaction, given it’s a historic weight class?
To be honest, I thought f***** hell, it’s just my luck this… 60 kilo is one of the most popular weights, it’s always full to the brim when you go to these major competitions.
That was my first reaction, now it’s just sunk in, I just think to myself it wasn’t meant to be.
I’ve tried to put it to the back of my head. The main thing was performing still at 60kgs but it was always there, I was thinking when’s it going to change and when am I going to have to start filling into this new weight.
I think towards the end [making the weight] was taking its toll on my body I think it was starting to affect my performances a little bit. When I first got on GB I was on a massive winning streak, no one could beat us. But the past year, year and a half, as it’s got harder to make the weight it tended to be in training I was working more on getting my weight down rather than working on new skills and that.

How many bouts was that winning run?
I went on a 35 fight win streak from 2012 till 2017, I got beat off Yuri Shestak in the European semi-finals.

Calum French
Calum French grew out of bantamweight and began finding it hard to make lightweight Action Images

What were the most recent European Games like?

It was a brilliant experience going out to Belarus.

I got the Italian [Francesco Maietta] first who I’d already boxed and I beat him and then I boxed the Armenian [Karen Tonakanyan]. I’d boxed him before, I boxed in the Strandja and I beat him. So I boxed him in the quarter-finals and I lost on a 3-2 split.

It was the first time I’ve been put down [in the first round]. It was a shock but I got up, I recovered well from it and I came on and I won the second two rounds on every judges card. It was a shock to the system but it was experience as well.

It must be tough becoming a rival for Luke McCormack?

It’s not a rivalry. It is what it is. We’re both going for the same goal. We’ve been best pals since we were 12 years old, travelling the country, travelling the world together.

We’ll be sent to different tournaments and whoever’s performing best will get the spot. He’s away at the Worlds now so he’s number one at the minute.

I must have done over a thousand rounds [of sparring] with him. It’s always been competitive… We’re at that world level sparring each other. We live together as well down in Sheffield, we’ve got similar mindsets and similar interests. We’re the same type of kid really.