Given he was unable to box for 15 months, the selection of Lochend’s Craig Morgan for next month’s Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas is even more remarkable.
The Scottish 60kg champion received confirmation from Commonwealth Games Scotland last month that he had been successful in making the team of 41 athletes who will travel to the Caribbean island on Friday, July 14.
The 17-year-old’s inclusion, though, wasn’t a certainty by any means. Morgan, who resides in Kelty, Fife, suffered a broken thumb in February 2015 and subsequently made things worse when he sustained the same injury to the knuckles of his left hand.
The teenager was ruled out of the sport for more than 12 months and didn’t make his return to the ring until summer last year. However, his explosion back on the circuit culminated in him being crowned Scottish Champion in March with victory over Broadwood’s Aiden Duggan, adding to the Junior and Schoolboy titles he has previously held.
But it’s now on the international stage where Morgan is plotting his next major success.
“I cannot wait to get out there,” the youngster said of the competition that runs from July 18-23. “It’s going to be such a great experience and mixing it up with other world class boxers in the ring. I’ve been training so hard for it. There’s a few good boys at my weight but I feel I have a very good chance of medalling.
“I didn’t have a scooby I was getting picked. But they had to make that choice and I’m so glad they have put me forward. It’s really just been the last year that I’ve managed to get back into the swing of things again. I was out with my thumb for about nine or ten months and then I ended up breaking my knuckles. It was my own fault as I did it in sparring and I hadn’t really wrapped my hands properly.
“As soon as I came back I fought at 64kg as we were a bit unsure of where to put me. But I then went down to 60kg and started winning everything. When I broke my thumb I was still trying to punch with it which, on reflection, was a bit stupid. It was a nightmare. I kept thinking about the Games and that time wasn’t on my side. I really didn’t think I’d make it.
“Even up until the Scottish Championships in March, I don’t think it was in my favour. And after I lost in the British finals I thought that was it.
“But to get that phone call telling me I’d been put forward, I just thought ‘oh ya dancer’. I’m still young and have got a long way to go but it’s whatever I make of it.”
Morgan will be put through his paces at a ten-day training camp in Ireland at the beginning of next month prior to him flying out to the Bahamas. For the time being, though, he will continue his preparations with his mentor at Lochend, Terry McCormack.
“Terry has been class and so supportive, just as a coach should be,” Morgan explained. “Some coaches if they’ve got a lot of boxers they tend not to be with them as much but Terry is always there, making sure I’m always doing something. He tells me every day ‘you’ve got to come home with that gold’. I’ve been doing really well in sparring lately so here’s hoping it all pays off.”