Great Britain’s boxers have enjoyed an impressive return to competition as they secured seven medals, winning three golds, one silver and three bronze at the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in Debrecen, Hungary.
A triumphant final day saw boxers from the GB Boxing squad land three gold medals as Harvey Lambert, Lewis Richardson scored victory, whilst Frazer Clarke was awarded a walkover after his opponent pulled out of their final. World champion Lauren Price had to settle for silver after losing her final on a split decision to Nouchka Fontijn of Holland
The medal haul was completed by featherweight, Nico Leivars, lightweight, Gemma Richardson and welterweight, Rosie Eccles, who all secured bronze. It meant seven of the eight boxers from the GB Boxing squad that took part in the competition returned with a medal.
The day began with an excellent performance by Hull’s Harvey Lambert who convincingly defeated Miroslav Kapuler Ischelenko of Israel to win the welterweight final in his first international outing as a member of the GB Boxing squad.
He was followed into the ring by Lewis Richardson who used his southpaw skills to outpoint Croatia’s Jezek Noa and win the middleweight gold. It was Richardson’s fifth bout in five days and saw the Colchester man show a combination of grit and boxing intelligence to overcome fatigue and emerge victorious.
Richardson said: “Five fights in five days is a tough ask and today was pretty heavy going but I managed to grind my way through. It’s an amazing feeling to win.
“I was in great shape coming into this tournament and despite a gruelling schedule my body has held-up well which is thanks to the team at GB Boxing who are so good at preparing us. It has been a long time since a lot of us boxed so this has been a great trip. There is a lot positivity in the camp and the performances this week have put us in a good place for when the Tokyo qualifier re-starts later this year.”
One of the most eagerly awaited contests of the final day was the women’s middleweight final between Wales’ Lauren Price and Nouchka Fontijn of Holland.
It was the latest instalment in a compelling rivalry which has seen the pair – who are ranked one and two in the world – meet in the finals of both 2019 European Games and the 2019 world championship, with Price triumphing on both occasions.
A final of contrasting styles saw Price use her hand speed and superior footwork to land a number of clean shots on her Dutch adversary however the judges’ saw the bout in favour of Rio 2016 silver medallist, Fontijn, who was awarded a split decision victory over her great rival.
Although he did not get to box on finals day, super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke won all three of his bouts at the Bocskai and was delighted to have been back in action after 16 months out of the ring.
Clarke said: “I have so many ups and downs in the last 18 months and to finally be back in the ring, doing what I do, has been brilliant. It has really brought the love back.
“The whole thing has been a great experience and it has made me realise how much I missed every aspect of going away to tournaments and competing. Training and sparring is great, but you cannot beat competing and I think this has been a really beneficial week for me and all of team.
“I worked really hard on my fitness to get here and the competition has been excellent. I have faced two southpaws which is great preparation for me because my next opponent in the Olympic qualifier (due to take place later this year) is one.
“I think I have boxed pretty well. I know the areas where I have to improve and I feel like I am only going to get better now I have got some competitive action under my belt.
“It has been a great trip and the team has performed really well. We’ve had a really nice mix of young up-and-coming members of the squad and some of the older, experienced heads and the atmosphere has been excellent. The coaches have been brilliant as always and have made sure we are well prepared which shows in the results we have achieved.”
The Bocskai tournament was held under Covid secure protocols and featured boxers from France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Turkey, Croatia, Holland, Finland, Hungary, Austria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Algeria, Israel and the Czech Republic.
Results of all the bouts featuring boxers from the GB Boxing squad are available at www.gbboxing.org.uk.