He may have just won his first Scottish amateur boxing championship title, but already Brian Forsyth is raising the bar with aspirations for bigger and better things – including starring for Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
The Holyrood gym star was recently successful in the men’s 81kg Scottish finals at Meadowbank, which automatically earned him an international call-up for the forthcoming Belgrade Winners Tournament in Serbia at the beginning of next month. The intensity of this competition will also prepare him both physically and mentally for his individual event at the British Championships in London on May 19. Relishing the days and weeks that lie ahead for the 25-year-old, Forsyth admits the honour of representing the blue and white of Scotland is something he’s still trying to comprehend.
He said: “It’s a really big moment for me as I never envisaged anything like this would happen. I’ve always had aspirations to achieve something like this and go and box for my country. Now that I’ve got the chance, I am going to give it everything I can and make it all the worthwhile.
“I am so determined to make the squad in 2014 and this is what I am aiming for. I am hoping I can win as much as I can between now and then which will stand me in good stead of being selected. There are always aspects of your game you can improve on but I think I’ve got a good chance of being there and representing Scotland. As long as I keep on top of what I have been doing and not become too complacent then I will remain hopeful.”
A difficult upbringing saw Forsyth leave school at the first opportunity when turning 16, the lure of full-time employment and monetary benefits it brings proving too big an appeal. However, upon starting his boxing career at the age of 13, the former Liberton High pupil made the decision to walk away from the sport he loved three years later, citing work commitments the reason behind such an arduous decision.
“I wanted to leave school, start working and make some money. It was a hard period of my life as I did have a troublesome background through my teenage years but managed to get away from that and got my head down. It was quite a difficult choice to give it up but my work came first as I wanted to try and carve out an apprenticeship. I started boxing with Sparta but there weren’t really any reassurances that anything would happen with this so I thought I might as well just give it up.”
Nonetheless, the father-of-one rediscovered his passion for his boxing gloves a few years later and started training at Holyrood boxing gym where he was met by passionate mentor Bradley Welsh. Forsyth admits the strain of trying to familiarise himself with the energy and skills required often proved demanding, but believes his decision to return to the ring has most certainly paid off.
“It was really hard work getting back into it,” Forsyth said. “Being in the gym is just as difficult as trying to keep to a strict diet and sticking to it. I train seven days a week so I’m in the gym for at least two hours each day and sometimes have double sessions at the weekends. But as an amateur boxer, you can get a call anytime for a fight so you need to be on top of your game and in peak condition every week.”
Forsyth not only has the advantage of two sponsors who provide support with training gear and protein and nutrient supplements, he can’t speak highly enough of Holyrood coach Welsh who has consistently spurred him on to maximise his potential he has within the ring.
He added: “The support he has given me since I started there has been phenomenal. To be quite honest, I couldn’t really hope for a better coach.”