Olympic24: Four boxers through to World Champ quarter-finals
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Olympic24: Four boxers through to World Champ quarter-finals

10 October 2015 / 11:23

Four GB boxers are now just one round away from the medal stages of the World Boxing Championships, although Joshua Buatsi couldn’t join them. Here’s our review of the last 24 hours.

  • Muhammad Ali, Joe Cordina, Josh Kelly and Joe Joyce are all through to the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Championships in Doha
  • Mark Lewis-Francis is eyeing up a piece of Olympic history
  • Jess Pugh determined to reach the top

Four boxers reach World Champ quarter-finals

Joe  Joyce

Muhammad Ali, Joe Cordina, Josh Kelly and Joe Joyce are all through to the quarter-finals of the World Boxing Championships in Doha, and are one round away from the medal stages of the competition.

Ali enjoyed a split points win over Vincenzo Picardi, the Italian Olympic bronze medallist that ended his European Games earlier this year. Ali will box second-seeded Azerbaijani Elvin Mamishzada in the 52kg quarter-finals.

Cordina boxed well against North Korean Chol Kwon to earn a place in the quarter-finals against number two seed Brazilian Robson Conceicao at 60kg.

Kelly beat New Zealander Joshua Nyika comfortably at 69kg, controlling the pace of the bout throughout and he will now face Moroccan number two seed Mohammed Rabii in the quarter-finals.

Joyce controlled the tempo in his 91kg+ clash against tough Moroccan Mohammed Arjaoui, defending well from heavy hooks to gain his spot in the quarter-finals, where he faces Ali Demirezen of Turkey.

However, an impressive performance from Joshua Buatsi against double world champion Julio La Cruz wasn't enough to see him progress at 81kg.

Despite knocking down the Cuban in the second round, Buatsi was unable to match his opponent's slick technical work.

Lewis-Francis looking for Olympic history

Mark Lewis-Francis 

Mark Lewis-Francis claims to have rediscovered his love for sport - and now he wants another Olympic gold 14 years after his first.

Lewis-Francis will always be remembered for anchoring Great Britain to 4x100m glory at the Athens Olympics, the 21-year old holding off Maurice Greene in a photo finish to deliver one of the most memorable successes of the Games.

But he missed the 2008 and 2012 Olympics through injury and is now targeting the next Winter Games in Pyeongchang and a bit of sporting history too.

American Eddie Eagan is the only athlete to win at both summer and winter Games in different events - claiming the light heavyweight boxing title in 1920 and gold in the four-man bobsleigh at the 1932 Games in Lake Placid.

Indeed there have only been four other medallists at both the summer and winter Games.

Lewis-Francis, now 33, hasn't given up hope of being part of next year's Games in Rio but with emerging young sprinters such as Adam Gemili, Zharnel Hughes, CJ Ujah and Ojie Edoburun coming through the ranks, acknowledges his best chance might come in South Korea.

Fellow sprinter Craig Pickering was due to compete in Sochi before suffering a slipped disc in training just ten days before the Games while Olympic rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave was also once part of the bobsleigh team, after winning his second gold in Seoul.

Marcus Adam was the last British summer and winter Olympian, making the 200m final at the 1992 Barcelona Games and finishing tenth in the two-man bobsleigh ten years later in Nagano.

"It's a great experience I almost feel as though I'm 14 again starting a brand new sport, It's a new lease of life after the injuries and the devastation and disappointments; you get fed up with it," said Lewis-Francis, who must certainly be credited for getting back up from a series of knockdowns that would have others walking away from their sport.

"Jumping into a different sport is so refreshing, I feel a brand new athlete. As a sprinter you think that you can jump into any sport and do well but I jumped into bobsleigh and it's the complete opposite, I'm starting from the bottom and working my way up.

"I'm going in there blind and keeping a whole positive mental attitude to the situation and moving forward.”

Pugh keen to capitalise on development year

Jess Pugh may be at the beginning of her senior international badminton journey but there's no doubting her drive and determination to succeed at the highest level.

After making a name for herself on the domestic scene, former Carlton School pupil Pugh started competing in senior international tournaments for the first time last year, winning the 2014 YONEX Hungarian International mixed doubles title in the process.

She continued to dominate the junior rankings too, becoming European Under-17 mixed doubles champion while this year she won European mixed doubles gold and team silver.

She was also picked to take part in the inaugural National Badminton League, where her performances for Milton Keynes Badminton caught the eye of rivals University of Nottingham who swooped for her services this summer.

Action gets underway for the team in the NBL on November 2 although Pugh will also be concentrating her efforts on the World Junior Badminton Championships in Peru – an event she hopes to star in.

"I'd never played a senior tournament before last season, but my mixed partner and I won a tournament in Hungary and that gave us the confidence that we belonged at this level," she said.

"That early win was really important to us in that sense, and that's what we try to remember.

"Even the lower level tournaments this year will be full of people trying to qualify for the Olympics, so this is a year for development and we've just got to stick at it.

"I got into badminton because my brother played quite competitively, and I just wanted to beat him. I used to cry every time I lost, and it sort of made me realise that this was what I wanted to do, to go on and play professionally.

"Everyone in badminton knows that now, so I've got that emotional reputation and I'm so passionate about badminton.

"I've got World Junior Badminton Championships in Peru which are a big goal for me."

Sportsbeat 2015