Calum French: ‘These kids we’re boxing in sports halls in Uzbekistan, these are trained killers’

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ONLY last year Britain’s lightweight boxers, those with
Olympic aspirations at least, were forced to move up three kilos, after the
division’s limits for Tokyo 2020 were changed to 63kgs. Thomas Hodgson, Mikey
McDonagh and Calum French have all had to move up as they now look to challenge
current incumbent Luke McCormack.

In the later weeks of 2019 the three challengers were in
action in international tournaments. Hodgson competed at the Liventsev Memorial
in Minsk, Belarus, though he lost a unanimous decision to the host nation boxer,
Artur Tuniyeu, in the quarter-final. Wales’ McDonagh went to the Tammer
tournament in Finland. He reached the semi-final but Brazil’s Wanderson
Oliveira halted him in their second round. French brought home a bronze medal
from the Golden Gloves tournament in Serbia. There he unanimously outscored the
host nation’s Marko Cvetanovic. In the semi-final however Cuba’s Yoangel Moya
edged him out on split points verdict.

All of them will have to adjust to this new reality. With
the old lightweight and light-welterweight divisions essentially being merged,
they find themselves now in the world’s most competitive division.

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