Brandon youngster Tommy Fletcher cannot wait for his first England training camp this weekend after being named on the England Boxing Talent Programme, writes Hannah Dolman.
The 16-year-old was spotted by pathway scouts at the 2018 National Junior Championships in Rotherham, after he was crowned national junior boxing champion in the Class B Male 70-75 category on March 24.
The Attleborough Boxing Club member’s victory will see him join other budding boxers at the camp in Tamworth this weekend, ahead of his first competitive fight for his country.
Tommy will compete for England in the 2018 GB Three Nations championships during the weekend of May 18-20, selected as a result of winning the national junior title for his weight.
He said: “I’m really excited, I worked really hard for the championships in training. It’s amazing to get to join the talent pathway, I want to keep getting better and better and one day go to the Olympics.
“I get my England kit soon and that’s exciting. It’s like the first step in the start of something bigger.”
Tommy said he felt ‘quite nervous’ as he took to the ring for his semi-final bout with Joel Bartell in the National Junior Championships.
He said: “I’d never fought in such a big competition, and it made me nervous in that first fight.
“I’ve progressed really fast in a short amount of time and winning the tournament is really exciting.”
He progressed to the final on a split decision, which saw him knock Bartell down in the third, and final, round.
His final opponent, Khalid Ayub, is an established fighter on the circuit who has taken a number of National Junior crowns over the years and represented a huge step up for Tommy.
But the Brandon youngster was up to the task against a fighter who is a regular for the England youth squad — and has won the Three Nations tournament in the past too — taking victory in a split decision from the judges.
Tommy said it ‘felt great’ to have managed to overcome such an experienced opponent.
While dad Ricky said: “We are very proud of what Tommy has achieved, it’s incredible.
“He’s only been boxing for a short time and his progress has been amazing.
“The club had told us about his abilities and so, while it is amazing for him to be asked to join the talent pathway, it was also not too much of a surprise.
“But it’s still an incredible achievement, winning the competition on the first time of entering.
“Tommy can’t wait to get involved with the England set-up in a few weeks now, he’s very excited obviously.”