Amateur boxer Lewis Benson is relishing the best spell of his career after securing the British Championship title at 64kg in London.
The Lochend star is certainly making headway in the ring after previous title victories in both the East of Scotland and Scottish Championships within the past seven months.
His 16-13 victory in the final over Englishman Robbie Davies has elevated the Capital pugilist to the fore of the amateur sport in what Benson concedes was a largely unexpected triumph at the London Troxy arena. However, it was a case of revenge for the 20-year-old who had suffered defeat at the hands of Davies earlier in the year.
Benson said: “He beat me down in Liverpool in January so it was a great moment to gain some revenge over him. It was tough but I managed to grind it out so I am absolutely over the moon. I was a massive underdog going into the event and wasn’t expected to even come close to winning the final.
“My coach, Terry McCormack, told me I could win but I wasn’t so sure. I have been in good form this year winning the East of Scotland Championships last November and then took the Scottish title in March so I’ve been going well. But being crowned British Champion is my proudest moment to date, make no doubt about it.”
Benson’s performances have earned him a pathway to international competition and he has represented Scotland on several occasions. His short-term objectives are to retain his titles next year and secure a place in the Scottish squad for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, but the lure of attaining a slot in the Great Britain setup is where he ultimately sees his future with the Olympic Games in Brazil in four years a burning desire.
“This has given me a massive confidence boost. I am going to be getting a three month assessment with the Great Britain squad so I am just waiting on a date to go down. I’ll go between Thursday and Sunday every second weekend and train three or four times per day. It will involve quite a lot of different skills including sparring, strengthening and conditioning and some technical work so it will be a real mixture. I really need to impress when I’m there before they make their decision. They are doing a clearout of the squad just now with a lot of the Olympic boxers looking to go professional after the Games, so they are looking to build a strong team.
“To be honest, I think I should make the Commonwealth Games as I can’t think of a reason why I’d be left out. I know it’s a few years away but I haven’t been beaten by anyone in Scotland in over a year. If I am not selected then I will definitely look to go professional.”
Benson’s close friend Josh Taylor secured qualification to this summer’s Olympics in April after a European qualifying event in Trabzon, Turkey, and he believes both himself and Taylor are reaping the benefits from the tuition and level of coaching available at the club. He said: “Going to the Olympics is such a massive achievement for Josh as no club in Scotland has been able to produce something like this for years.
“This, along with myself, winning the British Championship, has put the club right on the map and we want to be not just the best club in Edinburgh but in Scotland. There are a lot more boxers who will breakthrough in the next few years at the club because there is a lot of fantastic talent at the gym.
“Josh and I have been training together since we were 14 so I am absolutely delighted for him. I have only been at Lochend for two years but Terry promised me that he will turn me into the fighter I want to be and, to be honest, it is now certainly beginning to pay off.”
Lochend boxing club coach McCormack is ecstatic at what Benson has managed to achieve in such a short space of time but sentiments the words of the British champion regarding the overwhelming potential the club has within its ranks.
“It’s absolutely fantastic what Lewis has managed to achieve. The club has only been open for four and a half years and producing national champions is what we are aiming to do. We have a lot of others now beginning to show their worth.”