Boxer’s Commonwealth Games dream on ropes over row

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A CHAMPION boxer is among those set to take legal action after losing the chance to fight at the Commonwealth Games – because he took part in an unregistered bout.

Brian Forsyth, 27, has been told that he cannot compete at the official Boxing Scotland national championships because of his participation in an event run by the Amateur Boxing Association Scotland.

Brian Forsyth, second right, is joined by fellow Holyrood Gym members Kevin Ballentyne, Chris Givan and Craig Neilson plus youngsters Lewis Robertson, Josh Hoc, David Townsley and Jackson Forbes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Brian Forsyth, second right, is joined by fellow Holyrood Gym members Kevin Ballentyne, Chris Givan and Craig Neilson plus youngsters Lewis Robertson, Josh Hoc, David Townsley and Jackson Forbes. Picture: Ian Rutherford

As the national championships are effectively the gateway to selection for the Scottish team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, it all but ends his hopes of fighting for his country.

And fellow boxers fear they may also be hit with a ban as a result of the rules.

The dozen fighters, who train at Holyrood Gym in Duddingston Road, are now considering taking legal action to overturn the decision.

Boxing Scotland today said the fighters could still compete if they join a registered boxing club and write letters pleading their case.

But former Scottish 81kg boxing champion Brian said he feared his dream was over.

“I won the Scottish championships last year and now they are saying because I boxed elsewhere they won’t let me take part.

“I want to go to the Commonwealth Games and think I’ve a real shout. This will take that chance away.”

Among the others banding together to fight their corner are lightweight Phil Coppola, 26, 64kg fighter Kevin Ballentyne, 26, 24-year-old welterweight Craig Neilson, 16-year-old 54kg boxer Ryan Love, and 22-year-old lightweight Chris Givan.

ABAS, set up by former amateur champion Bradley Welsh, organised the Edinburgh v Glasgow clash at the Usher Hall in September, which drew an audience of 2000.

Mr Welsh said: “Boxing Scotland are trying to control and dictate a sport they don’t own.

“ABAS has a code of practice, full insurance, and never pays fighters. We want everyone to take part in boxing and compete at the highest level they can. All these boxers ask for is fairness.”

Southside youngster David Townsley, 11, who took part in a “skills and style” non-contact exhibition at the Usher Hall event, is worried his participation may limit his future 
prospects.

The P7 pupil at Sciennes Primary said: “I’ve been boxing for three years. My ambition is to box at the Commonwealth Games one day. I don’t think it’s fair if I get banned from the national championships. I just want to keep boxing.”

His mother, Annie Townsley, 44, said: “We’re so proud of David. He’s even got a nickname – ‘The Rooster’. We’d love to see him win a gold medal one day and we’re happy he’s going to fight for his right to compete.”

Boxing Scotland said it administered International Amateur Boxing Association rules to conduct centralised medical checks and ensure fights are regulated within approved standards.

Chairman Richard Thomas said: “If anyone feels they have a special case I would encourage them to make a written application to become a registered boxer and subscribe to our medical scheme, which protects all our registered boxers. This has not happened to date.

“I would also like to encourage all organisations, or clubs that provide boxing training, to affiliate to Boxing Scotland.”

Liz Smith MSP, Tory spokesman for culture, sport and young people, said: “Nobody should be banned from taking part in sport. It sounds like an issue which could be easily resolved if the two parties get together.”