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Fight duo battle way into GB squad

Two West Midlands' boxers' performances at national level throughout the year have earned them a piece on an elite squad. Walsall fighter Hamza Uddin and Priory Park fighter Kelsey Oakley will become funded athletes after joining GB Boxing's World Class Programme (WCP).

Kelsey Oakley
Kelsey Oakley

They will be two of 14 boxers to become funded from January next year, with seven others joining the emerging talent group

Uddin and Oakley are both five time national champions, the pair stepping up from the junior and youth ranks to be successful at the England Boxing National Amateur Championships in April.

Uddin got a first round stoppage over Thom Marley in the under-51 kg category, making him the youngest fighter to win the competition and Oakley claimed a unanimous decision over London Community Boxing's Ella Harris in the final of the under 48kgs category. The 19-year old then went on to win the Three Nations title and caught the eye of the GB coaches.

The academy squad will train from Wednesday to Saturday every other week in the GB Boxing gym at the English Institute of Sport Sheffield, with both boxers returning to their parent clubs in the alternative period.

Paul Gough, from Priory ABC said the step up from England to Team GB and the funding programme was a reward for Kelsey's hard work and performances which have seen her win everything she has taken part in so far in her career.

He said: "She has been a model student and is a real talent which is why she has been selected.

Hamza Uddin in action

"The good thing also is that she will be able to take part in two international tournaments for England Boxing in February and March due to an agreement in place between the two bodies so there is a lot to look forward to."

GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken said: “I would like to congratulate all the boxers that have made it through the assessment process and look forward to welcoming them into the GB Boxing gym in the new year.

“Consistently identifying and developing new boxing talent is critical to the ongoing success of GB Boxing and the coaches and I are very pleased to welcome this new cohort and look forward to working with them in the coming years.

" I would also like to thank all of their club coaches and the national governing bodies for the fantastic work they do in developing and nurturing the talent and producing the boxers that we get to work with as part of the world class programme.”

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