GB Boxing began the Belgrade Winner Tournament in style as four members of the squad marked their competitive returns with victories.
Flyweight Galal Yafai was the first to step through the ropes as he faced Botswana’s Rajab Mahommed in one of the day’s opening bouts.
Having last competed at the Boxing Road to Tokyo London Qualifier back in March last year, where we secured his Olympic status, the 28-year-old continued where we left off by progressing to the next round, beating Mahommed via unanimous decision.
It was the same outcome for both Charley Davison and Caroline Dubois who also last competed in London, with both winning their opening bouts in Belgrade as they did at the Copper Box Arena 14 months ago.
Charley was up against France’s Gloria D’Almeida whilst lightweight Caroline beat Raykhona Kodiriva to maintain her 100% senior record as both were crowned victors via unanimous decision.
The pair will be straight back in action today as Charley faces Belarus’ Yuliya Apanasovich whilst Caroline will be up against Slovenia’s Vida Rudolf.
European champion and world number one ranked welterweight Pat McCormack was back with a bang after an 18 months absence from the ring.
The 25-year-old made short work of his Greek opponent, Dionysios Pefanis, as he joined his teammates in winning via unanimous decision.
Pat will make it two bouts in as many days when he boxes Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Adem Fetahovic later this afternoon.
Peter McGrail will enter the ring today for the very first time as a confirmed Olympian.
In his last bout, the featherweight won his qualifying bout at the London Qualifier’s against Czech Republic’s Kevin Godla.
After well over a year, he will today make his competitive return in Serbia against Farid Walizadeh of the Refugee Olympic Team.
For Luke McCormack and Ben Whittaker, the wait for competitive action has been even longer.
Both were scheduled to box at the qualifiers however the suspension of the tournament after three days due to the Covid-19 outbreak means they last competed in 2019 at the World Championships in Russia.
Luke was narrowly defeated in the quarter-final stages of the light-welterweight division whilst Ben earned himself a place on the podium as he secured a bronze medal, being beaten by Dilshodbek Rumetov in the semi-final.
Today though, they make their return. Luke will be boxing North Macedonia’s Jasin Ljama whilst Ben will be up against Andrei Aradoaie of Romania.
For middleweight Lewis Richardson and welterweight Rosie Eccles, the wait for competition has been a lot shorter than the rest of their teammates, having competed in February’s Bocskai Memorial Tournament in Budapest where they both earned places on the podium.
Lewis was handed a gold medal after impressively winning all of his five bouts in as many days whilst Rosie won bronze after being narrowly beaten by Turkey’s Busenaz Surmeneli.
The pair will compete once again today with Lewis boxing Russia’s Nikita Voronov whilst Rosie up against Balzhan Askar from Kazakhstan.
The SCHEDULE for today’s bouts (25/04) is as follows:
57kg – Peter McGrail ENG v Farid Walizadeh ROT – Bout 2; Ring A approx. 14:15
81kg – Ben Whittaker ENG v Andrei Aradoaie ROU – Bout 2; Ring B approx. 14:15
W51kg – Charley Davison ENG v Yulya Apanasovich BLR – Bout 12; Ring B approx. 17:00
63kg – Luke McCormack ENG v Jasin Ljama MKD – Bout 15; Ring A approx. 17:45
W60kg – Caroline Dubois ENG v Vida Rudolf SLO – Bout 24; Ring B approx. 20:00
69kg – Pat McCormack ENG v Aden Fetahovic BIH – Bout 24; Ring A approx. 20:00
75kg – Lewis Richardson ENG v Nikita Voronov RUS – Bout 26; Ring A approx. 20:30
W69kg – Rosie Eccles WAL v Balzhan Askar KAZ – Bout 32; Ring B approx. 22:45
For more information on the Belgrade Winner tournament and who will be representing GB Boxing, click here.