Boxing is probably one of the sports that offers Team GB the best chance of winning medals at the Tokyo Olympics and Wednesday’s announcement of the team of seven men and four women confirmed its depth and quality. Olympic boxing often looks like a lottery because so much depends on wayward judges and the ambiguity of the draw. Still, this team looks to be at least as strong as its 2012 counterpart in London, which won five medals.
The GB team then trusted strongly on Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Nicola Adams, who all won gold, while the team in 2021 has a much deeper pool of talent. All 11 British fighters in Tokyo can claim to be in medal conflict if they get the right draw, and that was not the case with the GB teams in London and then in Rio in 2016, when three medals were won.
Pat McCormack, Lauren Price and Peter McGrail carry serious ambitions for a gold medal – and the team is full of convincing characters. The most exciting is Caroline Dubois coming from a large family of warriors and lightweight campaigns. Three years ago, when she was 17, BBC boxing commentator Mike Costello said: “I am tempted to call Caroline Dubois the best female boxer I have ever seen.” Dubois won the Youth Olympics and the world juniors and never came close to losing as a junior. This month, in her first senior tournament at the Olympic qualifiers in Paris, she received a brutal draw.
In his opening match, Dubois faced world No. 2 Mira Potkonen from Finland, who had beaten Katie Taylor, then reigning champion, in the quarterfinals at the Olympics in Rio. Dubois won a test match that showed far more durability than the very experienced Potkonen, and she reached the final of the European Qualifying Tournament to secure her place in Tokyo.
Air Force Charley Davison stepped away from boxing for seven years and became the mother of three children. She made an unexpected comeback in 2018 and her qualification for Tokyo has been as inspiring as it was surprising.
Cheavon Clarke, in heavyweight, came close to death twice as a boy, but he is a bubbly character. Team captain Frazer Clarke narrowly missed the last Olympics as his super-heavyweight place went to Joe Joyce, who won silver in Rio.
GB Boxing’s performance director Rob McCracken said: “Qualifying 11 boxers is a fantastic achievement, especially as they only had a competitive opportunity to earn a spot in Tokyo. The last 12 months have been very challenging but the boxers have delivered. ”
Frazer Clarke said: “I have dedicated the last 10 years to this and eventually being elected to represent Team GB is fantastic.
“This is a really strong team, so it’s an incredible honor to have been named captain.”