Olympic hopefuls head to Hungary

Olympic boxing
A GB team enters the Bocskai tournament to prepare for postponed Olympic qualifier

OLYMPIC hopefuls will be part of a GB team that is entering the Bocskai tournament in Debrecen, Hungary from February 8-12.

Lauren Price (75kgs) will box for the first time since winning the World championships in 2019, similarly Frazer Clarke (91&kgs) and Cheavon (91kgs) will also be competing for the first time since the men’s Worlds that same year.

Lewis Richardson, who got in one bout the Olympic qualifier last year before it was suspended, will go at middleweight.

Amateur boxing is currently suspended in the UK, though professional or elite athletes, i.e. those on an Olympic programme, are allowed to train and compete. All the boxers will be tested for Covid-19 before flying to Hungary on Friday (February 5). Social distancing protocols will be in place throughout the tournament venues and all coaches and officials will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the competition.

Although the dates for the rescheduled European Olympic qualification event still need to be confirmed, tournaments like this Bocskai competition are vital for their preparations. Other boxers who have been selected for Olympic qualification will have international training camps and other tournaments to target.

“Certainly it is crucial for not just us but all Olympic boxing teams that between January and February there’s training camps and there’s competitions on the calendar. That then creates a level playing field and gives everyone an equal chance at being successful and that’s what we’ll be looking to do,” GB performance director Rob McCracken told Boxing News. “All things stay on then we should be in a good place going into the [European] qualifier.

“It’s competition, it’s tough, if you are going to the qualifier you are expected to perform well. That’s part of being the number one selection.”

Welterweight Rosie Eccles, who lost in the London qualifier, will look to advance her case as she goes to Hungary. Nico Leivars (57kgs), Gemma Richardson (60kgs) and Harvey Lambert (69kgs) round out this Bocskai team.

Lauren Price said, “I am really looking forward to stepping back in the ring and getting used to the whole process of competing again. We have had some good training camps and I have been able to do a lot of sparring, but nothing quite matches the feel of competition and the nerves that come with that. We have Olympic qualifiers due in the spring and early summer and I was really keen to get some competition in before then so it’s great that we have this opportunity.”

Super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke added, “This is the longest I have been without competing since I was about 14, so once the chance to box came up I was very keen. It will be good to get back into the routine of competing and I am sure I will feel at home once that bell goes. We are very fortunate to have this opportunity to compete and I am keen to use it well.”

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