While Qais Ashfaq’s European Games ended a day earlier than he would have hoped he has no doubt that Olympic gold awaits him at Rio 2016.
The 22-year-old’s tournament came to a close at Baku’s Crystal Hall on Wednesday as he came unstuck against Dzmitry Asanau – the Belarusian on the right side of a 3-0 decision.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Ashfaq came through impressively in his three previous bouts to make it to the semi-finals but struggled to get out of the blocks against Asanau.
While the history books will show a 3-0 victory the 19-year-old, the bout was a back and forth contest that saw both fighters landing heavy shots.
But Asanau used his reach to keep the determined Brit at bay and, when Ashfaq did find a way inside, he was punished on the exit.
However, despite defeat, he believes there is plenty more to come as he turns his attention to the Rio and the world’s biggest stage.
“I wasn’t feeling my best today. I tried to put that to one side and I thought it was a good fight. A close fight as well,” he said.
“It was exactly what I expected but like I said, I wasn’t feeling myself today. Even warming up I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent but that’s part of the experience and I’ll come back stronger and by the time the Olympics comes round I’ll win that gold medal.
“This is really my first major senior tournament apart from the Commonwealth Games, which isn’t that major. The more experience I’m getting the better I’ll become.
“A couple of things didn’t go my way this week but it’s good to have the experience and I’m getting experience all the time. I wasn’t very well this week and another day I probably would have beaten him.
“Three good performances this week and I’ll come back better and stronger. Hopefully he’ll win that gold and I’ll go to the World Championships – I wish him all the best.”
© Sportsbeat 2015