SEVERAL members of the GB Boxing squad are on collision course to meet in this weekend’s England Boxing National Finals at the Echo Arena Liverpool (25-27 April 2014) in a series of clashes that could influence selection for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Every English member of the GB Boxing squad entered the tournament and 17 have made it through to the final stages this weekend when the quarter-finals, semis and finals will be held over three consecutive days of boxing at the Echo Arena Liverpool.
Tickets for all three days are available for £39 (£28 concessions) or £16.90 (£11.50 concessions) for each day, inclusive of booking fee. A handling fee of £2.25 per order applies
Tickets can be purchased at www.echoarena.com or by calling call the Echo Arena Box Office on 0844 8000 400.
In the flyweight division (52kg), Croydon’s Charlie Edwards and Jack Bateson from Leeds are seeded one and two and could meet in Sunday’s final. The pair, who are both previous National Champions at light-flyweight (49kg) and have won bronze medals at the European Championships (Edwards in 2011 and Bateson in 2013), spar together at GB Boxing’s training facility at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) in Sheffield.
Bateson said: “It’s a shame because Charlie and I are friends but you don’t want to get too close to someone you could be competing against.”
Edwards added: At the end of the day boxing is a business and we’re both getting in there to win. Sparring with Jack has been interesting, I’ve been working on things and I know what I have to do to.”
Another potential clash of GB squad members is at super-heavyweight (over 91kg) where Burton’s Frazer Clarke and Londoner Joe Joyce are seeded one and two respectively. The pair have met in competition before with Joyce taking the spoils but the fast maturing Clarke is feeling confident after securing his first international gold medal at The Strandja Cup in Bulgaria in March.
Clarke said: “Winning my first senior international tournament has given me a lot of confidence. I have won a few bronze medals before but actually getting the gold has really given me a boost. If you look at the names that have won medals at The Strandja, such as Anthony Joshua, Anthony Ogogo and Luke Campbell, they are all top boxers, so it shows that you have to be good to win that tournament.
“Joe and I have a lot of respect for each other. Obviously there’s a bit of tension now because we could end up boxing each other but that’s the nature of the sport. Without Joe I don’t think I would have come on as much as I have done, and probably the same goes for Joe. There is no bad blood between us and I’m sure if we come to box it will be a great bout.”
The light-welterweight division (64kg) offers another potential clash of squad-mates as the 2011 lightweight (60kg) champion, Sam Maxwell could meet last year’s winner, Josh Kelly from Sunderland, or the person he beat in that final, Chris Mbwakongo from London. Kelly and Mbwakongo are both part of GB Boxing’s Podium Potential (junior) squad and will be keen to test themselves against Liverpool’s Maxwell who is established as the leading English light-welterweight in GB Boxing’s Podium (senior) squad.
Other potential match-ups between members of the GB squad are at welterweight (69kg) and heavyweight (91kg). Two members of the Podium Potential squad, Sam McNess from the Repton Club in East London and Ekow Essuman from Bilborough Community ABC in Nottingham, could meet in the welterweight division. At heavyweight, Danny Williams from the Podium Potential squad may have to get past number one seed, Warren Baister, if he wants to win the title.
A full list of competitors taking place in the National Finals can be viewed at http://www.abae.co.uk/aba/index.cfm/news/england-boxing-elite-championships-pre-quarter-final-results/
GB Boxing’s Performance Director said: “I was very keen for as many boxers as possible from the GB squad to enter the National Finals as it is a good yardstick of progress and the new format of holding the final stages over three consecutive days is similar to the challenges that boxers face at international competitions.
“It will provide a clearer indication of which boxers can handle this type of challenge and have the ability to deliver good performances day-after-day as the competition progresses.”
40 quarter-final bouts will be held on Friday 25 April from 1.00-7.00pm with two rings in the Arena.
On Saturday 26 April, there will be one ring in the Arena for the 20 semi-finals, which will run from 11.00am-6.00pm. It will be the first time that boxing fans will be able to watch all 20 semi-finals as previously they were held at two separate events in different regions of England.
On Saturday evening there will be an exhibition of female boxing in the Arena which will feature London 2012 Olympian, Natasha Jonas and fellow GB squad member Lisa Whiteside along with some of England’s finest up-and-coming female talents.
The Men’s Elite Finals will be from 1.00-5.00pm on Sunday 27 April 2014.