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Tori Ellis Willetts wants to follow in Nicola Adams’ footsteps, not fight her for the Olympic place

Tori Ellis Willetts
Tori Ellis Willetts is out of the tournament Andy Chubb/England Boxing
Tori Ellis Willetts is GB’s latest 51kgs boxer. She contemplates the Olympics and whether Nicola Adams could return

Were you surprised to get the opportunity to go to the European championships at 51kgs?

Yes, obviously it’s my first year on GB so it’s a big opportunity for me to go out and represent them in the Europeans. I got on last October so I’m fairly new to the programme. It’s really, really good. I went to Poland for my first international, won a bronze out there. It’s really good, I’m enjoying it.

Anyone that’s going to the Europeans has got to be at a top level to be there so it’s going to be a tough competition.

So after getting selected for this, is Tokyo 2020 now your target?

Anything’s possible and the way my boxing’s progressed so quickly, keep pushing, keep training hard and see what happens.

It’s good I can get more experience with the major tournaments now, rather than really close to the Olympics. So it’s good to get the first one out the way.

Did you join the Army specifically for boxing?

I used to box for Eastside in Birmingham. I wanted to box for the Army, I knew they had a full time team so I joined the Army. I took the risk because I didn’t know they were going to support me with it.

I did my basic [military] training, got to my regiment, said this is my end goal, I want to go to the Olympics, I know that there’s an Army boxing team.

I went in my first championships for the Army, won the championships and then got trials for GB.

The Army support me 100% with the boxing, they’re there if I need them. They support me with boxing and allowed me to progress onto the programme, because they could have said no, you’ve got to serve.

It’s not clear how serious Nicola Adams was when she mentioned coming back for the flyweight spot and going for a third Olympic gold, but what would you think if she reappeared on the squad?

I don’t know. Because Nicola Adams is a bit of an idol. I look up to her. I went to the London 2012 Olympics, I got to watch some of the boxing.

She’s a massive idol. It would be a bit weird. I would love to [spar her] though.

Tori Ellis Willetts on Nicola Adams
Ellis Willetts wants to follow in the footsteps of Nicola Adams Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Nicola Adams, I want to follow her footsteps. Obviously she’s the same weight, she’s a two-time Olympic champion. She’s someone to look up to for sure.

MISSION 2019 – MARK DICKINSON

THE young middleweight did not have an electric European Games, his first major tournament for GB, but he is capable of mixing with the 75kgs elite. Dickinson is one of the thirteen strong GB team going to Russia for the World championships next month. He will box for England and Sean Lazzerini, who has moved down from light-heavy, will represent Scotland in the same division. These Worlds will be contested at the new Olympic weights, with 60kgs and 64kgs being replaced by 63kgs. Luke McCormack and Mikey McDonagh will go at the new lightweight weight, for England and Wales respectively. Peter McGrail gets an extra kilo with bantam becoming featherweight at 57kgs. Pat McCormack will be the welterweight and Frazer Clarke the super-heavyweight. Scotland’s Aqeel Ahmed has moved up to 52kgs, he and England’s Galal Yafai will go at flyweight. English and Scottish heavyweights have been selected in Cheavon Clarke and Scott Forest. Welshman Sammy Lee and England’s Ben Whittaker have been selected at 81kgs. The Worlds run from September 7-21 in Ekaterinburg.

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