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Lionhearts coach praised for helping victims

PUBLISHED: 12:45 24 March 2017

GB boxing coach Tony Davis

GB boxing coach Tony Davis

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British boxing team witnessed Westminster attack

Pat McCormack paid tribute to British Lionhearts coach Tony Davis after he rushed to the aid of victims of the Westminster terror attack this week.

McCormack and fellow members of the team were attending a community event at the Houses of Parliament when the attack occurred on Wednesday.

But Davis told the rising star welterweight to focus on his World Series bout with Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre, which he won with confidence at London’s York Hall last night.

“Tony was standing right next to us, and when everyone was running away he was running to their aid, full respect to Tony,” said McCormack.

“He saw a lot more than us and he was a bit shaken up. It was a horrible thing to witness, when we came out of the event we were right there in front of it.

“I didn’t really sleep much because I couldn’t really stop thinking about it but I got the job done and got the win. The boxers and coaches spoke together and they handled it well.”

Those thoughts were also echoed by Birtley’s Calum French, who beat Michael Magnesia by unanimous decision.

“It was the most tragic thing I’ve ever seen in my life, it was horrible to see,” said French.

“We tried our best not to let it affect us and keep our mindset focused on boxing, but it was hard.

“My heart goes out to the friends and family of those who were killed or injured, it was terrible event. It probably won’t sink in until after this because I was trying to put it in the back of my mind.”

McCormack was on the end of a difficult draw at the Olympics, losing to Cuban number two seed Yasnier Toledo on a split decision. But there is no doubt about his talent as he looks to make amends in Tokyo.

Mangiacapre was a tricky opponent but the 21-year old always seemed to have his measure, winning every round on every judge’s scorecard.

“He was a very experienced boxer, he knew his way around the ring and he was tangling me up, I got a bit frustrated at times. I’m just happy I got the win, I’ve beaten a top class fighter,” he added.

“I think I held my composure most of the time, although sometimes I got caught with my hands down. I love fighting at York Hall, I’ve never lost here, when I bring my home crowd down it gives me a great advantage, I always box well down here.”

McCormack is now looking ahead with confidence to a busy few months with the European Championships swiftly followed by the World Championships in Hamburg.

“Rio was my first big competition and I think it all got to me, being a very young age I didn’t box as well as I could,” he said.

“But having been to the Olympics, I feel a lot better I feel a lot more relaxed and I feel I’m doing a lot better.

“I’d love to go to Tokyo and win a gold medal there but this year I’m going to stay undefeated in the WSB, qualify for the world championships and hopefully medal there too.

“When I box now I don’t feel nervous, I feel relaxed going into the ring, I feel I’m one of the most experienced members of the team even though I’m one of the youngest.”

The Lionhearts won all five bouts against the Italia Thunder and now top their group heading into a home clash with France next month, keeping them on track to improve on last year’s final defeat against Cuba.

*See the British Lionhearts next in World Series of Boxing action at York Hall on April 6 v France Fighting Roosters. Tickets at theticketfactory.com.

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