THIRTEEN men from the GB Boxing squad have been selected to compete at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Ekaterinburg, Russia (7-21 September 2019).
The team includes eight boxers that won a medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is made-up of eight from England, three from Scotland and two from Wales.
Eight of the group competed at the 2017 World Championships in Hamburg when Liverpool’s Peter McGrail was Great Britain’s sole medallist, taking bronze at bantamweight. It came after he won European Championship gold in the same year and was followed by Commonwealth Games gold in April 2018 and bronze at the European Games in June 2019.
McGrail said: “I had a few fights at the European Games and though I was disappointed not to win gold, I was happy with my performances and felt I boxed well. I have got a good track record in major tournaments and have beaten most of the other top boxers at my weight so I am going into this feeling confident.
“I am improving all the time and, compared to the last World Championships, I have two years more experience and two years more strength so I am feeling good and looking forward to it.”
The other English boxers in the team with previous World Championship experience include Galal Yafai, twin brothers, Pat and Luke McCormack, Ben Whittaker and Cheavon Clarke. The other two Englishmen in the line-up are rookie middleweight, Mark Dickinson, and experienced super-heavyweight, Frazer Clarke.
Two of the Scottish contingent, Aqeel Ahmed and Sean Lazzerini also competed at the 2017 event. They will be joined in Russia by countryman Scott Forrest.
The welsh duo, Sammy Lee and Micky McDonagh, will be making their debuts at the World Championships, however the pair have experienced success on the big stage, when they won gold and bronze respectively at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.
For super-heavyweight, Frazer Clarke, this will be a long awaited debut at the World Championships. The 27 year-old has been part of the GB Boxing squad for nearly 10 years but has never competed at the Worlds having missed out on selection in the past to Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce.
Clarke did qualify for the 2017 event by winning a silver medal at that year’s European Championships but was forced to withdraw as he required surgery on a badly torn hamstring.
Clarke said: “Getting the opportunity to go the World Championships has been a long time coming and I am pleased to finally be going. Even though it is not an Olympic qualifier it is still an important tournament and a really good chance to compete against the best and take a look at the people we are going to be boxing against in the qualifiers next year.
“It is less than a year to go now until Tokyo so I have been really been putting the work in in the gym and am looking forward to getting out there and boxing again.”
The boxers from Great Britain will head to Russia buoyed by a strong performance in their last competitive outing in June 2019 at the European Games in Minsk when Team GB finished top of the boxing medal.
Six of this group won a medal at that event including gold for Pat McCormack, silver for Ben Whittaker and bronzes for Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail, Luke McCormack and Cheavon Clarke.
GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken, said: “The men did very well at the European Games however the World Championships is another level up and probably the toughest assignment in the boxing calendar.
“With just under a year to go until the 2020 Games this will be a really good test for the boxers and give us a clear indication of how they are progressing and what they need to work on as we look towards the start of the Olympic qualifying campaign next year.”
The 2019 World Championships will be the first to feature eight men’s weights and will mirror those that will be used at Tokyo 2020. There is no light-flyweight (49kg) category and bantamweight (56kg) and lightweight (60kg) have been replaced by the introduction of a featherweight (57kg) category. The former light-welterweight category (64kg) has been re-classified as lightweight (63kg). The full line-up of boxers from the GB Boxing squad is:
|Aqeel Ahmed||Flyweight – 52kg||Scotland||Keir Hardie ABC, Motherwell|
|Galal Yafai||Flyweight – 52kg||England||Birmingham Police ABC|
|Peter McGrail||Featherweight – 57kg||England||Everton Red Triangle, Liverpool|
|Luke McCormack||Lightweight – 63kg||England||Birtley ABC, Tyne & Wear|
|Mickey McDonagh||Lightweight – 63kg||Wales||Merlin’s Bridge ABC, Pembroke|
|Pat McCormack||Welterweight – 69kg||England||Birtley ABC, Tyne & Wear|
|Mark Dickinson||Middleweight – 75kg||England||Birtley ABC, Tyne & Wear|
|Sean Lazzerini||Middleweight – 75kg||Scotland||Bellahouston ABC, Glasgow|
|Sammy Lee||Light-heavyweight – 81kg||Wales||Premier ABC, Swansea|
|Ben Whittaker||Light-heavyweight – 81kg||England||Firewalker Olympic Boxing Club, Darlaston|
|Cheavon Clarke||Heavyweight – 91kg||England||Gravesham ABC, Gravesend|
|Scott Forrest||Heavyweight – 91kg||Scotland||Lochend ABC, Edinburgh|
|Frazer Clarke||Super-heavyweight – 91kg+||England||Burton ABC, Burton|
Results and updates on the progress of the team at the World Championships will be posted at www.gbboxing.org.uk and on twitter at @gbboxing once the tournament begins on 7 September 2019.