by James Slater: Not long to go now until the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing are upon us. And British boxing is being well represented at the games, with no less than eight boxers having qualified. One of the stars of the eight-man squad boxing for Britain is lightweight Frankie Gavin, aged 23..
Last year in Chicago, the gifted boxer from Birmingham, in the midlands, made history by becoming the U.K’s first ever world amateur champion. Now Gavin feels he can win in Beijing too. Speaking to BBC sport recently, the 23-year-old expressed his confidence and also spoke of how Amir Khan – who captured a silver medal in 2004 – has been a big influence on him and his team-mates.
“There’s no reason why there can’t be gold in Beijing, I should win the Olympics,” Gavin told the BBC. “Everyone says the worlds are harder than the Olympics and now I’ve won the worlds it shows me the level I’m at.”
Khan, Gavin says, showed he and his team-mates the way.
“Amir showed us the way, I was training with him [before the 2004 Olympics games] and I thought, ‘I can do it,'” the amateur star said. “All of us boxers have got arms and legs and if you put in the hard work there’s a good chance that you’ll make it. Everyone just knows the hard work is starting to pay off now. People want to avoid us in championship draws and we’re finally getting the respect we deserve. I put it down to hard work, preparation and The English Institute of Sport in Sheffield. The whole system’s just got better.”
Aside from the games that are about to start in Beijing, Gavin is looking ahead to 2012, when the Olympics will be held in London. Gavin believes that by then, Britain could be challenging Cuba when it comes to being the best in amateur boxing.
“As long as we keep some of the boxers amateur, we’ve got a great development squad behind the podium team and they’ll stay in training and do what we’ve done for the last four years,” Frankie said. “Plus, even more money will be put in because it’s [the 2012 Olympics] in London, so why can’t we be challenging Cuba in 2012?”
As far as Beijing goes, the lightweight hopeful feels that Russia’s Alexey Tischenko and Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas will be his biggest threats.