I WOULD LIKE to start this week by offering up my congratulations to the Team GB Olympic boxing squad for their record medal haul at the Tokyo Games.
There were some stirring performances from the boys and girls that were well worth getting up early for.
The superb six medals from an 11-strong team, I understand, is the most brought home from an Olympic competition since the Antwerp Games in 1920, although I will point out this was a bit before my time!
It was pleasing to see another super heavyweight follow in the footsteps of David Price, Audley Harrison, Anthony Joshua and Joe Joyce across recent times, with big Frazer Clarke winning bronze and living out his long-awaited dream on the Olympic stage.
A bit like Joe, he is no spring chicken, but time is more on his side in the heavyweight division and he is another who will add to an already potent professional mix before too long. In many ways Joe has provided the blueprint for those who opted for a longer stint in the amateurs and I am sure his success is something Frazer will be looking to emulate.
As a country we really are in great shape as a heavyweight force and strong at every level from the top down with Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua to top ranked contenders in Joe and Daniel Dubois to a number of terrific young prospects, including our own David Adeleye.
If you go along with the theory that the strength of the heavyweight division represents the health of boxing overall in a nation, you would have to say that Britain is bouncing and in tip-top condition.
Obviously the real standout performances came from Galal Yafai’s flyweight gold and Lauren Price doing likewise at middleweight. You simply cannot underestimate the magnitude of these achievements and what they and the other four medallists have done is to protect the future funding of the GB boxing programme.
The silver medal boys, welterweight Pat McCormack and light heavyweight Ben Whittaker, were an enjoyable watch and I would say both have a big future in front of them in the professional arena. Whittaker is certainly the more extroverted and seems to have that spark about him that will keep him in the spotlight as he learns the pro ropes.
A special mention must go to Caroline Dubois, who we obviously know very well with her being the younger sibling of our heavyweight force Daniel. Just 20 and with only a handful of senior bouts under her belt, Caroline did fantastically to reach the quarter final stage and only just missed out on a medal after losing a tight split decision to Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee.
Caroline possesses the potential to dominate women’s boxing for years to come and I wouldn’t be surprised if she quickly becomes the new face of the sport.
THE CLOCK IS ticking towards our next show in Birmingham at the Utilita Arena on August 28 and one of our fighters has been busy making sure he enjoys the biggest support in the house on the night.
Middleweight Nathan Heaney has personally sold some 1,500 tickets for his third fight under the Queensberry banner and that is a phenomenal undertaking. Many people probably don’t realise the time and effort that fighters such as Nathan put into ensuring a bumper crowd cheers his every punch.
The amount of calls made, messages sent, queries answered, meetings organised, collection of ticket money, travel arrangements – it isn’t just a case of people knocking on your door and buying a ticket.
Sometimes boxers who have built up a big following are derided by others as ‘just a ticket seller’ and this isn’t right or fair. Getting people to support your journey is a big part of the boxing business and when they do this in numbers, I would say, it is a huge compliment.
It means your supporters rate you as both a bloke and as a fighter and want to share in the experience.
Both BT Sport and our media team at Queensberry have spent time with Nathan over the last week in Stoke and have reported back that his popularity has grown to incredible levels and he really is the man about town these days.
Good for him! Nathan deserves it and we will do everything we can to help him realise his dream of winning major titles and, hopefully, getting to fight on the pitch at his beloved Stoke City FC.