THE women’s European championships begin in Madrid, Spain on Thursday (August 22) and conclude on September 1. It’s unusual to have the event following so soon after the European Games. But then these are unusual times in amateur boxing. Even at this late stage in the Olympic cycle, the weights that will be contested next year have only recently been settled, and the precise dates for the Tokyo 2020 qualification events are yet to be confirmed. But the path has at least become clear. For female boxers the Olympic weights are 51kgs, 57kgs, 60kgs, 69kgs and 75kgs and the road to Tokyo for British boxers can start with this major championship.
The boxers looking to stake their claims at the Olympic weights for GB will be flyweight Tori Ellis Willetts, featherweight Karris Artingstall, lightweight Paige Murney, welterweights Sandy Ryan and Rosie Eccles, going for England and Wales respectively, and middleweight Kerry Davis. Rounding out the British representation will be Demi Jade Rezstan, who boxes for England at 48kgs, not an Olympic division.
Ryan will be hoping to steal a march on Eccles, who qualified for the European Games in Minsk but did not medal. England’s Ryan, the reigning Commonwealth Games gold medallist, is one of the most experienced boxers GB will have in Spain. “We both want the same thing. She’s my rival,” Sandy said of the Welsh welter. “I don’t really look to what she’s doing. I already beat her two times in the past. I feel like this is my time. I’m not going to let anyone take my spot… But there’s no hate. We’re both on the same journey, we both want the same thing. You can’t hate her for that. I just know what I want.”