GB Boxing squad to compete at Belgrade tournament as part of preparations for forthcoming Olympic qualifier

By 20th April 2021News

Eight members of GB Boxing squad return to action after more than a year out

ELEVEN men and women from the GB Boxing squad will fly to Serbia today to take part in the Belgrade Winner Tournament, 22 – 28 April 2021.

The tournament, which is part of the squad’s preparations for the forthcoming European Olympic qualifier in Paris (4-8 June 2021), will mark a return to action for nine of the boxers that have not competed for more than a year as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

For Pat McCormack the tournament will be his first competitive outing since the final of the world championship in September 2019, when he had to settle for a silver medal after the contest was halted due to a cut when his opponent was ahead on the judges’ scorecards.

The 25-year-old is the number one ranked welterweight in the world and is looking forward to stepping through the ropes after an 18 month lay-off which is the longest period he has been inactive for over a decade.

McCormack said: “It’s been eighteen months since I’ve competed and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.  During the first lockdown I did have some time off.  It was good to have a breather and give my mind a rest, but now it’s good to be back.  We were meant to box in a few tournaments but they kept getting cancelled, so I am just glad that this one is going ahead.

“I am buzzing at the thought of it. There will definitely be some nerves because anything can happen in boxing but I’ve been training hard and have been living the life so I have got no excuses.

“It’s a big period coming up, so the plan is to go and get a gold medal in Serbia then we’ve got the qualifier in about 50 days, then it’s on to the Olympic Games and winning a medal there.”

Other boxers on the plane to Belgrade that have not competed for more than a year include Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail, Luke McCormack, Ben Whittaker, Charley Davison, Caroline Dubois and Rosie Eccles.

Three other members of the group, Lewis Richardson, Cheavon Clarke and Frazer Clarke competed at the Bocskai tournament in Hungary in February, where they won two golds (Richardson and Frazer Clarke).

The full list of boxers that will take part in the Belgrade Winner Tournament is:

Charley Davison Flyweight – 51kg Lowestoft
Caroline Dubois Lightweight – 60kg London
Rosie Eccles Welterweight – 69kg Cardiff
Galal Yafai * Flyweight – 52kg Birmingham
Peter McGrail * Featherweight – 57kg Liverpool
Luke McCormack Lightweight – 63kg Washington
Pat McCormack Welterweight – 69kg Washington
Lewis Richardson Middleweight – 75kg Colchester
Ben Whittaker Light-heavyweight – 81kg Darlaston
Cheavon Clarke Heavyweight –  91kg Gravesend
Frazer Clarke Super-heavyweight – 91kg+ Burton

* Denotes a boxer that has already qualified for Tokyo 2021 by virtue of their performance at the Boxing Road to Tokyo Olympic qualifying event which was suspended after three days in March 2020. The event will resume in Paris and run from 4-8 June 2021.

All 13 boxers have been tested for Covid-19 before flying to Belgrade.  Social distancing protocols will be in place throughout the tournament venues.  Coaches will wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during the competition and officials will wear masks.

The action gets underway on Thursday 22 April 2021.  Results will be posted on the GB Boxing and on twitter at @gbboxing.