Lochend Boxing Club's Matty McHale is on a golden mission in Birmingham

Fuelled by his Gold Coast omission in 2018, lightning was never going to strike twice for Lochend Boxing Club's Matty McHale.
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And the 26-year-old bantamweight insists he fully intends to make his mark when he heads for Birmingham next month.

McHale fell agonisingly short in his quest to make the Scottish boxing team bound for Australia four years ago, Reece McFadden instead taking one of nine coveted berths.

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The Scottish champion, who touches down in Edinburgh tomorrow afternoon having spent the past week at a training camp in Madrid, was in fine fettle as he took the time out to assess his chances when the Games get underway on Thursday, July 28.

Lochend's Matty McHale is plotting gold at next month's Commonwealth Games in BirminghamLochend's Matty McHale is plotting gold at next month's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
Lochend's Matty McHale is plotting gold at next month's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

"I just missed out on the last one so it's been head down since then and I've finally made it," McHale told the Evening News. "It's a huge relief and a weight off the shoulders to have been selected. It's been the main goal of mine for the last four years.

"I trained with the team who went out to the Gold Coast, was friends with all of them so to miss out was hard to take. It was like being left out of the school team when you were younger! But you have to be a man and get over it. I think I have matured as a boxer in the intervening period and will be better equipped to go and challenge for the gold. I really feel these Games are coming just at the right time for myself.

"I'm looking at one medal only and that's gold. I feel I am more than capable of coming home with the win. I'm consistently putting in good performances against quality opponents so I feel great about it all. I'll get in there and fight anyone. If you want to be the best, you need to beat the best."

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Former Lochend amateur Josh Taylor, who won gold at Glasgow 2014, is emblazoned across all four walls of the former Scout hall on Sleigh Drive. But McHale is determined to make his own name in the sport.

"Obviously you can't fail to not be inspired by what Josh has done," he explained. "But I want to create my own legacy. I don't want to hear people say 'oh you're like Josh Taylor', I want to be myself. Of course, I would love to go on and do what's he achieved. I mean who wouldn't want to be the undisputed champion of the world?

"We've had some really good sparring with the Spanish team while we've been out here in Madrid. Last week it was over 40 degrees so it was boiling hot.

"We'll spend more time in Scotland preparing before going down to Sheffield for a multi-nations camp. And from there we will then head straight to the athletes' village.

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"It's certainly going to be a busy six weeks or so. But this is what I want to do. It's what you live for, to fight at big competitions is all part of the journey. If it was easy everybody would do it. This is always the hard part but it's all building up towards stepping into the ring.

"I don't know what I'm going to do after the Games but I'll sit down with my coach Terry McCormack.”