Leeds teenager Jack Bateson is eyeing a place at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as he continues his journey to emulating clubmate Nicola Adams, writes Oliver Roby.
Bateson, 19, learned boxing at the same Burmantofts gym as Olympic champion Adams and now trains alongside her as part of the British squad in Sheffield.
He heads to Liverpool this weekend looking to win a second successive English title and earn a national vest for the Commonwealth Games.
He said: “It will set me up for the Commonwealth Games and obviously if you do well there that gives you a good platform leading to Rio 2016.
“It’s about getting the ball rolling for other big events.”
While the 2016 Olympics is a major target, Glasgow 2014 remains a tantalising prospect for Bateson, and it is an event he is desperate to be a part of.
“It gets a lot of publicity. It’s almost like a mini-Olympics so it’ll be great for me to get on television with the big stars. I’ll be there with the likes of Nicola Adams, so it really does get your name out there.” he said.
“I went to the Commonwealth Youth Games two years ago and I got a gold medal, so to go and do it at senior level would be really good.”
Learning from the likes of Adams, week in week out at Sheffield’s English Institute of Sport, provides ample motiavtion for Bateson - a European bronze medallist last year - to succeed at global level.
“They do really inspire me because they’re all familiar faces,” he said of the pictures of Olympic medallists that adorn the walls at the EIS.
“You’ve got the likes of Richie Woodhall, he’s now coaching and passing on his knowledge to us.
“And then you’ve got the latest ones like Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua and Nicola Adams, and you think, ‘I’ve been training next to them’ leading up to the London Olympics and you start to realise how close it actually is and if you just put in the hard work and have the dedication lik those guys, it’s achievable.
“Nicola’s from the same area as me, the same gym, and for her to go on and win gold at the Olympics and all the publicity she’s had, really makes me want it even more.”
Bateson trains Monday to Thursday at the EIS, and still trains with his Dad on weekends at Burmantofts.
Despite an already packed workload and success at light flyweight level, the teenager has been looking to increase the intensity of his training as he targets success at flyweight level this year.
“It was the right time to move up and I’ve already filled into the weight and before I know it I could be moving up again next year,” he said.
“With me still growing, I’ll never know what weight I’m going to end up at, but hopefully I’ll be able to prove myself at flyweight and represent England in the Commonwealth Games.”
Bateson is the second seed in Liverpool this week, with his quarter-final bout scheduled for today (Friday).
If everything goes to plan, he will be on a collision course with top-ranked Briton Charlie Edwards in Sunday’s final.
“If I can get to the final and beat him, that really does put me in good stead for the Commonwealth Games,” he said.
Bateson is one of three Leeds boxers in action at the Echo Arena alongside light flyweight Oliver Simpson of Kelly’s ABC and Qais Ashfaq of KBW.