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Luke McCormack on the brutal competition for Olympic places

Luke McCormack
WSB
Luke McCormack says he's going to drink a good cup of tea, then win his place at the Olympic Games at the qualifier in London

How pleased were you to be selected at 63kgs for the Olympic qualifier?

Obviously with the weights splitting up and two weights going into one, I knew I had the upper hand because it was closer to my weight than the other weight. I [feel] for Calum French because he’s put the work in. It’s just s**t how it ended up for him. Because there could have had been three of us going [from Birtley], instead of just two [Luke and twin brother Pat].

We’ve never really seen it [as competing]. It was just one of them things. It just happens.

I just always remember, it was me four years ago who didn’t get to go… I’ve been there, crying on me bed. I’ve been in that position too so I know how it feels.

You have had to lose a kilo to make 63kgs. How has that affected you?

Now I’m being a bit more strict with my diet and that, overall it’s going to help. Mark Ellison [the GB nutritionist] measured my fats. I was top end for the weight. Perfect size for the weight.

The training camp you just had in Kazakhstan, what was that experience like?

It was minus 25 some days so couldn’t really go out. Couldn’t really go outside. These Kazakhs have got a big advantage over us because they’ve got no distractions. But then I got home and thought I’ve got no distractions really, if you don’t let them be distractions. We’ve got distractions, like there’s fun things to do, loads of different stuff. But if you don’t let them be distractions you’re not distracted are you?

Do you find it hard to keep focused?

Proper hard. That’s why it’s good to get down Sheffield [for training camp]. I’ve been getting myself to bed at 10 o’clock. I used to be out partying. Now I’m in bed at 10 o’clock, with a glass of milk.

How tough do you think your division will be at the qualifier?

Two weights have gone into one. Loads of good kids at every weight though. I think my weight is probably the toughest weight of all.

It’s going to be lovely really because we’ve boxed all over the world and no one even comes to watch you. No one’s even there to watch. So it’s a bit disheartening when everyone’s shouting for the other lad. Do you know what I mean? It’s going to be nice having the crowd behind us, cheering us on. Even the food, the comforts. Even nowadays you can’t beat a good English cup of tea.

Anywhere you go in the world, a cup of tea’s not the same.

The European Olympic Qualification Event takes place March 14-24 at the Copper Box in London. Tickets are on sale at https://see.tickets/boxingroadtotokyo with prices starting at £5 (£2.50 concessions).

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