LOCHEND boxing coach Terry McCormack believes Lewis Benson’s decision to move up a weight division is a timely boost for Scotland ahead of next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
McCormack is blessed with three of the country’s finest amateur boxers at his disposal in Benson, Aston Brown and Olympian Josh Taylor, below.
With Taylor likely to be selected to represent his country in Glasgow next summer at 64kg, Benson, who retained his Scottish title at the same weight back in March and is the reigning British champion, faced a mammoth task in ousting his clubmate for the coveted No. 1 position.
However, with Benson now receptive at making his mark at 69kg, McCormack believes he, along with Taylor and Brown, will fly the flag for not only Lochend, but Scotland in just over 12 months’ time.
“The two of them both have the same goals and they understand that,” McCormack said. “Josh is rated all over the world, but with Lewis moving up to 69kg he will have a good chance of making the Commonwealth Games too. Once we build Lewis up a bit, none of the other guys at that weight will be able to live with him. Lewis has only just moved up but as far as I am concerned he is the No. 1 already. We’ve not built him up yet, but he will get bigger and stronger and prove his worth.”
The Lochend dream may just come true now with their hope of having three boxers all competing in Glasgow next year. It would seem everything is now falling into place.
Taylor, 22, and Brown, also 22, are in the Belarusian capital of Minsk in preparation for the European Championships that get underway tomorrow. The pair, who will represent Great Britain, have both debuted in this season’s World Series Boxing (WSB) Championships, coming up against some stern opposition from across the globe.
In the midst of their WSB commitments, Brown secured 75kg glory at the Scottish Championships, while Taylor has been sidelined with a hand injury sustained in February when boxing Italian Olympic conqueror Domenico Valentino.
Despite Taylor’s preparations having been hampered with restrictions enforced throughout his training regime, McCormack is confident both men can return to their homeland with further honours.
“The two of them are world-class operators and are at the top of their games,” he said. “Aston is a strong boy and his confidence is up and the two of them are looking to medal and possibly go all the way. Unfortunately, for Josh though, he has been carrying an injury for the past two or three months and won’t be 100 per cent, but he still has the ability to go there and pick up a medal. But Josh is Josh and he wants to fight on. It hasn’t been the best prep for him with his hand but he’s going there in his mind that he will win it.”
Lochend bring the curtain down on their season with their final club show tonight at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, where several of their top stars have been matched with opponents from some of the finest amateur clubs in Scotland. Benson aims to get off on the right foot when he faces his first bout at 69kg against Keir Hardie’s Gary Smith.
McCormack added: “It should be a really good show tonight with about ten fights. It’s always quite hard to match our boys but we’ve managed to get Lewis a welterweight which will be a good test for him.
“I think this has been the best season and every year since we opened it has just got better and better. Having Josh at the Olympics and Benson winning the British and then going away and winning a few silvers and a gold, it’s just been great.”