Boxer targets fighting way into the Great Britain team
CHARD boxer Paul Roberts is looking to fight his way into the Great Britain squad by shining in upcoming national events.
The 17-year-old battled his way to the final of his last British Championship before losing out to European silver medallist Luke McCormack in Stoke-on-Trent.
Head coach of Chard ABC Keith Roberts believes this could be his son's year if all goes to plan. He said: "What Paul's looking to do now is getting a national title, earning some funding and getting into the GB squad - that's what he really wants.
"What I would expect is for him to be invited to the next England squad training camp, which he has been on before and he should be up there really."
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In order to make GB selectors sit up and notice, Roberts of Wessex Way, Chard will need to progress through the Bristol and Somerset regional rounds of the National Amateur Championship before competing in the Western Counties division – a route he has had no problem navigating before.
"He had fights going through the rounds starting off in the Bristol and Somerset and no-one would box him in that," explained coach Roberts. "Then he had Western Counties where he had three opponents who all backed out against him, so he was Western Counties champion before he even threw a punch - that's happened for the last three or four years.
"He should hopefully be involved in a Shepton Mallet show in the first week in March and then he's got the Amateur Boxing Association Championship in the end of March.
"The first couple of rounds will be in Bristol but my guess is that it'll be the same scenario - I can't think who will box him in the Western Counties - but there might be someone, you never know."
Keith Roberts, who set up the boxing club which trains at Victoria Avenue in Chard, now has eight carded boxers under his management with approximately 50 members and is hoping that his star performer can take the next step.
"We need to get Paul to a point where he's competing on the international stage, he just needs to get invited," he said. "Something's got to happen soon, he's been knocking on the door now for two years and if he wins the AMAs, they can't ignore him."
By Ryan Peasland
YEOVIL Amateur Boxing Club have high hopes for young duo Bailey Phillips and Rhys Mitchell following impressive ring debuts.
The duo, both aged 11, pushed respective opponents Tony Hann and Ryan Smith all the way in their bouts at Camberley, only to lose. Coach Dave Edmunds said: "Both of our boys had never boxed before and their opponents were more experienced.
"Both bouts could have gone either way and hopefully they will turn out to be good boxers for the club."