If you booked your tickets for the London Olympics, did you make sure that you included seats for the light-flyweight boxing bouts?
Teenager Charlie Edwards moved a step closer to qualifying for a place in the London Games by winning his first senior Amateur Boxing Association title on Friday, earning immediate promotion to the elite podium squad in the British boxing team based at Sheffield.
Edwards, 18, divides his time between the national training centre and his home in Beddington, where his father Larry built a ring in the garden when his son started boxing aged 11.
Edwards has been earmarked for three or four years as a likely Olympic competitor, even appearing on a Channel 4 documentary, Trophy Kids, in 2008, which showed him in tears after suffering the vagaries of a dubious judges’ decision at a tournament in eastern Europe.
At Colchester on Friday there was no margin for error, when at his first senior ABAs, Edwards demolished Mohammed Wagas in the final, scoring 39pts to 13.
In boxing, each country, even the hosts, are limited to one boxer in each weight class, and then only those boxers who have qualified with performances at other international tournaments.
Having already won the British Amateur title in the 48kg category, Edwards’s ABA title confirmed his British No1 ranking. He now may get the chance to fight at next month’s European championships in Bulgaria, with an Olympic qualifying slot there to be fought for at the world championships in Azerbaijan in September.
“It is a real big step for me and what I need to do to go up an extra level in my boxing,” Edwards told the Croydon Guardian.
“It is all for a reason and for me to fulfil my dream so I have to make sacrifices, this is where I want to be.”
(And yes, we know Beddington is in the borough of Sutton. But we also know Charlie and his family very well, and he has strong family connections in Croydon still).
Good news, too, of another Inside Croydon tip for 2012 Olympics: Lawrence Okoye, the discus-throwing rugby champion from Waddon, was back in south London at the weekend to win his first Surrey AAA senior discus title. Big Lol threw a championship record 63.25 metres at Kingsmeadow, putting him well within range of Britain’s better established, more experienced discus throwers’ best efforts this season.
Okoye was disappointed with his performance at last year’s world junior championships, but in an event where Britian is certain to have one entry at the London Games next year, he is firmly on course towards Olympic selection.