IT’S too early to call Reese Lynch the next Josh Taylor. But he will be one of the hopes for Scottish amateur boxing over the years to come. He of course wants to follow the same route as his predecessor.
“You’ve got to look up to [Josh]. He’s from your country, he’s a southpaw as well, same weight. He’s the man. I think he’s class, he’s probably one of my favourite fighters as well,” Reese says.
Lynch at only 20 years old already has a major achievement under his belt. At last year’s Worlds in Belgrade he reached the semi-finals. Winning that bronze saw him become the first Scottish amateur to medal at a senior World championships.
“It was brilliant, that was one of the best bits to be honest, making history. Especially at 20 years old. It was my first Worlds as a senior,” Lynch said. “I just wanted to medal at a major tournament, especially missing out so narrowly three times at the Europeans as well. I just wanted to make my mark at a major competition.
“I think there’s bigger things to come as well, especially [now] getting on GB. I think that will help a lot as well. Just training full time as well, it’s different level. It takes you up to the next level as well. It’s a great medal but hopefully I can upgrade when it comes next time.”
Not previously a member of the GB squad, he went to Serbia with a Scotland team that in itself has a number of promising boxers.
“The team spirit is different level. We’re all supporting each other, especially in the big fights like that. I was watching the other boys box, when you see them win it’s like a win for yourself as well. It’s a buzz. We’ve got a good team as well. We’ve got Matty McHale, he beat a top Russian, in his first fight, he then had the Kazakh,” Lynch said. “It was a close fight, he could have got it.
“The whole team’s brilliant, Tyler Jolly, Sam Hickey, he’s on GB as well.
“A promising team, a good team there.”
It suggests the Commonwealth Games coming up later this year could be an exciting tournament. “It’s going to be a good one to watch, a few upsets for Scotland maybe,” Reese suggests.
Lynch was the only Briton to medal at the Worlds last year. He was in a highly competitive division and had tough fights along the way. He started his championship against Iran’s Ashkan Rezaei. “He was a wee rough and tough guy, he was a horrible fighter. It was tough but it was good as well,” Reese said. “It was a tough bout for a first bout.”
He then outboxed Spain’s Adrian Thiam. “I was just sharper than him in that bout I think, I think he struggled a little bit with the speed and stuff like that. That was probably the easiest bout – it wasn’t as physical and tough as the other bouts. I kind of got to use my skills in that one as well and I could pick my shots and stuff like that, it was brilliant,” Lynch said.
That unanimous victory put him through to his crucial quarter-final against Kazakhstan’s Sanatali Toltayev. Lynch won that on a split decision. “[The Kazakhs] are all good, every single one of them is skillful. They can rough you up as well, they can switch their styles and stuff like that. It was a big fight to win. But going into it I was still confident in winning,” he said.
Lynch had a war on his hands in his semi-final with Turkey’s Kerem Özmen. “He was a good boy. He won the first round. I actually got a count in the first round. I don’t know if it looked worse than it was. I was fine,” Reese said. “He got that 5-0, then the second round I came back into it, I dropped him with a jab as well, then he got a count. I only got that round 3-2, which was pretty rubbish. But it was a close round still. I thought I should have had it.
“So it was everything in the last round, he caught me with a good shot, that was a good shot… I got a count in the last round so it was an entertaining fight to watch. He was really good. He was good with his feet.
“He could step back, he had big right hand, was powerful as well. Hopefully I can get him in the Europeans, hopefully I can get revenge. Because I think I could beat him. I felt a bit flatter in the semis than what I was in the quarters. It was still a good fight.”
The men’s European championships are coming up in May. First for Lynch he’ll be going to the Box Am tournament in Spain, his first competition as a GB boxer. That begins on March 7.
“Everyone here will be looking to go to the Olympics in Paris, so it’s good to be a part of it as well,” Lynch said. “It’ll be good to get started basically with GB at Box Am.”