Britain’s medal hopes in the boxing category have never been so high.
11 boxers will compete at the Tokyo Games next month following the success at the Paris qualifiers earlier this month, equaling the record set 37 years ago in Los Angeles.
Optimism about Britain’s prospects in Tokyo has grown so much there have been whispers about them breaking another record.
The Olympic heroes of 2012 were the most successful Team GB boxing squad ever, with Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Nicola Adams striking gold and Fred Evans and Anthony Ogogo adding a silver and bronze respectively.
Could this team achieve even more? The general consensus is that this group of fighters certainly possesses the talent to do so.
So, without further ado, let’s meet the 11 Brits going for gold in Tokyo.
Anthony Joshua (left) and Amir Khan (right) are two of Britain’s more recent Olympic heroes
Frazer Clarke (Super heavyweight, +91kg)
Frazer Clarke has been around the blocks. His Olympic dream, which was secured last week, has been a decade in the making.
Clarke, who first entered the Team GB boxing ranks as a 17-year-old, was pipped to a place at the London Games by Anthony Joshua in 2012 and then by Joe Joyce four years later in Rio.
The former fight night security guard is also a long-time sparring partner of world heavyweight champion Joshua and is a big favourite to finish on the podium in Tokyo.
He beat the No 2 seed Marko Milun of Croatia during the Paris qualifiers before losing the final on a split decision.
After having to bide his time for so long, Clarke will be fired up to finally get his chance to fight at the Olympics. Expect to hear about him a lot more after these Games, too, because he intends on turning over to the pro ranks afterwards.
Interesting fact: Has a tattoo of Del Boy Trotter on his leg.
British super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke secured his place at Olympics after a decade of trying
Cheavon Clarke (Heavyweight, 91kg)
Earning a spot at the Olympics is just the latest event in Cheavon Clarke’s remarkable life.
The talented heavyweight is still only 30, but he’s seen enough adversity and had some extraordinary experiences for a lifetime.
Clarke is fortunate to be with us, let alone going for gold in Tokyo. He has technically died twice. When he was just eight he was left lifeless after falling off a ladder and being impaled by a steel spike. Then when he was 18, he ‘flatlined’ in hospital again, this time because of a burst appendix.
He’s also once played Call of Duty with Usain Bolt, squared up to Prince Charles and got in the ring with Rio Ferdinand in the former Manchester United defender’s garden.
Clarke has previously won bronze at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and silver in the 2017 Championships. He will be hoping to go one better in Tokyo. Whether he’ll turn pro afterwards is a decision only he knows. He has rejected the chance on numerous occasions after being advised by former world champion Richie Woodhall to stay as an amateur for as long as he could. Right now though, he’ll be solely focused on the Olympics.
Interesting fact: Once quit boxing to be a lorry driver.
Cheavon Clarke has had a remarkable life and is now going to be fighting at the Olympics
Ben Whittaker (Light-heavyweight, 81kg)
Ben Whittaker is one of Britain’s best medal hopefuls, having qualified for Tokyo as the No 1 seed at light-heavyweight.
Whittaker was due to fight for the gold medal at the Paris qualifiers but decided against contesting the final as a precaution, so that shows you where his focus is.
The 23-year-old is desperate to strike gold at Tokyo to get his name on the wall at the fabled English Institute of Sport alongside Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Nicola Adams.
He is a graduate of the famous Sheffield institute, which has been a breeding ground for British boxing talent with undisputed super-lightweight world champion Josh Taylor also learning his trade there, but Whittaker has got his eyes set on emulating AJ rather than the Taylor, saying recently: ‘All they talk about around here is the Olympics and getting your name on the wall.’
After his Olympic dream was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Whittaker revealed earlier this month it was 50/50 whether he would turn pro or not having seen Teofimo Lopez, who is the same age as him, become the unified lightweight champion but he eventually rejected offers to turn over after taking advice from Joshua.
Interesting fact: Once got sacked from a matchday job at Wolves. Speaking about it recently, he said: ‘It was too cold. I used to just hide in the toilet and eat Pukka pies.’
Ben Whittaker desperately wants to win a medal so he can get his name on the wall at the EIS
Lauren Price (Middleweight, 75 kg)
Lauren Price is the most decorated female boxer in the Team GB squad and a huge favourite to win gold in Tokyo.
The Welsh fighter won gold in qualifying and heads into the Games as the Commonwealth and European champion and without a defeat since 2018.
Price is an exceptional talent but insisted she has improved even further over the extra 12 months she’s had due to the Olympics being delayed by Covid.
The middleweight, who was raised by her grandparents and was a great all-round athlete, having won taekwondo titles and represented Wales in football as a teenager, is known for her extreme toughness and driven attitude.
Price says she has dreamed of competing at the Olympics since she was eight. In just a few weeks, she finally fulfill that fantasy.
Interesting fact: She played more than 100 games for Cardiff City FC’s women’s team and won 52 international caps playing for Wales after making her debut at the age of 16.
Lauren Price (right) is one of the most talented fighters in the squad and a favourite to win gold
Pat McCormack (Welterweight, 69kg)
Pat McCormack is arguably the standout talent in the Team GB squad and is expected to repeat his gold in Paris.
The 26-year-old edged out Andrei Zamkovoi – who beat him in the 2019 World Championship final – in a hugely competitive contest.
McCormack will now likely be the No 1 seed in Tokyo and the man to beat. Many experts are tipping McCormack and Zamkovoi, who has only lost 20 of his 140 amateur fights, to be the Olympic finalists.
McCormack is one of the most decorated and experienced boxers in the amateurs and has previously competed at an Olympic games, having fought at Rio in 2016.
He got to the last-16 before losing to the No 2 seed and has since moved up to welterweight and established himself as one of the world’s leading boxers in the amateur code. He plans to turn professional after the Olympics.
Interesting fact: Pat is 45 minutes older than his twin Luke. Held off turning pro so he could go into the paid ranks at the same time as his brother.
Pat McCormack won the gold medal in the European Olympic qualifying event in Paris in June
Luke McCormack (Lightweight, 63kg)
Luke McCormack, twin brother of Pat, secured his spot in the Olympics by claiming a Bronze medal in qualifying in Paris.
The Sunderland fighter has achieved a lot of success as an amateur and boasts a European Games bronze, a Commonwealth Games bronze, a European Championships silver medal and a gold in the EU Championship.
In 2015, Luke and his brother Pat became only the second pair of twins to win England Boxing Elite national titles on the same day equalling the achievement of Darran and Stewart Langley in 2005.
McCormack admitted recently he has got one eye on turning professional and that this is the ‘last hurdle’ in the amateurs and ‘preparing him for the big stage’.
He also revealed that he only started taking up boxing after his older brother told him he’d give him £20 a week if he went to the Birtley Boxing Club. I bet he’s glad he took his brother up on that offer, because now he’s off to the Olympics.
Interesting fact: Loves to dance in his spare time. Even his twin brother admitted recently: ‘He is good, he’s got the moves that kid.’
Pat’s twin brother Luke will also be competing in Tokyo after earning his place in qualifying
Caroline Dubois (Lightweight, 60kg)
Caroline Dubois followed in the footsteps of her older brother Daniel, who spent two years in the programme before turning professional in 2016.
Dubois is only 20 but is heading to Tokyo as a strong contender to finish on the podium after securing her first senior medal at the European qualifying event in Paris earlier this month.
The London fighter, who was voted BBC young Sports Personality of the Year back in 2019, was beaten in the final by Ireland’s Kellie Harrington, taking home the silver medal.
Her sibling, Daniel, has emerged as one of the brightest heavyweight prospects over the past couple of years and is now the WBA interim world champion.
She can add more success to their family name by claiming a medal in Japan, which she intends to do after saying the year-long delay has been a ‘blessing in disguise’ for her.
Interesting fact: Dubois started boxing as an 11-year-old and pretended to be a boy called Colin so she could fight at the same club as he older brother.
Caroline Dubois, younger sister of heavyweight Daniel, is aiming to win a medal in Tokyo
Peter McGrail (Featherweight, 57kg)
Just hours before the biggest fight of his life, Peter McGrail was told the Olympic qualifying event would be called off that evening in London last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
As the curtain came down, he had one bout to secure his spot in Tokyo.
Despite the situation, McGrail remained composed and managed to claim a comprehensive unanimous decision to become the last Brit to qualify before the Paris qualifiers earlier this month.
The Liverpudlian started boxing as a 10-year-old to have ‘a laugh’ with his friends but immediately stood out, with one of his coaches at the Everton Red Triangle telling his dad that he would one day be a national champion.
That prediction, if anything, was too cautious as McGrail went on to become a six-time national champion. He has gone from strength to strength since then, winning medals at the European, Commonwealth and World Championships. Could an Olympic one be next on his already impressive CV?
Interesting fact: Been with the same coach since he was 10
Peter McGrail has enjoyed huge success as an amateur and earned his Olympic spot last year
Karriss Artingstall (Featherweight, 57 kg)
Karriss Artingstall began boxing during her days as a gunner in the British Army.
It was there competing for the Army Boxing team that Artingstall secured her assessment with GB Boxing after winning the 2018 England Boxing Elite National Championships featherweight title.
Artingstall had to wait another year before she could fight for a place at the Olympics and secured her spot in Tokyo at the Paris qualifiers.
She shares a flat with fellow Team GB star Lauren Price and the pair spent much of lockdown going on bike rides, feeding the ducks and day-dreaming about going to the Olympics together.
After spending months spurring each other on, both Price and Artingstall delivered the goods to earn their places in Tokyo. Both will be hoping to return with medals to display in the cabinets at home.
Interesting fact: Karriss is still a registered soldier in the Army.
Karriss Artingstall secured her spot at the Tokyo Olympics in the Paris qualifiers this month
Galal Yafai (Flyweight, 52kg)
The third fighting brother of his family, Galal Yafai has now stepped out of the shadows of his older siblings and in his own words ‘surpassed their achievements’ as amateurs after earning his place at the Olympics.
Yafai qualified over a year ago but fell just short of gold at the Paris qualifiers as he was unfortunately disqualified in the flyweight final with Frenchman Billal Bennama following a clash of heads.
His brother Khalid has gone on to become a world champion in the pro ranks while Gamal is 18-2 and previously represented Team GB at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
They’re a talented bunch the Yafai’s, and Galal might just be the best of the lot. It’s crazy to think then that only 10 months before he fought at Rio in 2016 at his first Olympic Games, that he was working at a Land Rover factory in his hometown.
Six years later, he’s going again and this time, he’s ready to go for the medals.
Interesting fact: Much prefers to watch Anthony Joshua fight over his brothers because he finds lower weight division fights boring despite being a flyweight himself.
Galal’s the latest fighter off the Yafai conveyor belt and out to win a medal in his second Games
Charley Davison (Flyweight, 51kg)
They don’t call Charley Davison the comeback queen for nothing.
Davison, who won domestic success and international recognition as a youth boxer, had a seven-year break from the sport when she was 19 to have her children before returning to training in 2018.
She’s enjoyed a meteoric rise since her return and managed to qualify for the Olympics all while juggling three children.
Davison was competing as a bantamweight, which is not an Olympic weight class, but the Team GB coaches felt she could successfully compete as a flyweight.
That decision was vindicated when she qualified for the Olympics earlier this month. She lost the final in qualifiers in Paris to Turkish top seed Buse Naz Cakiroglu and will be looking for revenge in Tokyo. Rule Davison out at your peril.
Interesting fact: Decided she wanted to come back to boxing after watching the London 2012 Olympics
Mum-of-three Charley Davison has enjoyed a meteoric rise since returning to boxing in 2018