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Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Monday, 7 June 2010 18:15 UK

Seven GB boxers through to Euro quarter-finals

By Ben Dirs

Tom Stalker
Liverpool's Tom Stalker fights a Latvian southpaw next

Great Britain's boxers have made a storming start to the European Championships in Moscow, with seven men one win away from a certain medal.

Englishmen Tommy Stubbs, Khalid Yafai, Gamal Yafai, Iain Weaver, Tom Stalker and Obed Mbwakongo and Welshman Andrew Selby have all made the quarter-finals.

The standout performer was lightweight Stalker, who beat world champion Domenico Valentino in his first fight.

GB's best post-War medal tally at the event was five in 1947 and 1961.

"It's as tough as you can get out here, it's Russia and it's the Europeans and there are no easy fights, so to get seven through to the quarter-finals is tremendous," GB performance director Rob McCracken told BBC Sport.


"But we've got to push and and win some medals and not settle for this. All the quarters are very tough and if we get some medals with such a young team it will be a superb achievement."

McCracken, who took charge of Britain's elite amateur boxers last November, said Liverpool's Stalker, 25, was well capable of going on to win gold after his 4-1 victory over Italy's Valentino.

"That was a great win and gave everyone a lift," said McCracken. "He's trained very well, he's learnt from past mistakes, but he's got to push on, not just beat the world champion but hopefully go on and win the tournament.

"He's got a Latvian next who's southpaw and we're confident he can come past him and maybe claim a gold medal."

Behind the scenes with Britain's top amateur boxers

Eighteen-year-old Gamal Yafai, younger brother of 2008 Olympian and flyweight Khalid, gave a mature performance in beating Italian Vittorio Parrinello 5-3 in his second-round bout, having seen off Israel's Peter Moyshenzon 11-1 on Saturday.

McCracken said: "Gamal's a baby, but I looked at him and thought physically he's up to it, although technically he's still a way to go. He's in the quarter-finals and has got a very experienced opponent, but he can do it, and it's great experience for him."

Liverpool light-flyweight Tommy Stubbs beat Lithuania's Marius Vysnuiaukas 9-3 on Saturday to set up a last-eight meeting with Belfast's Beijing Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes.

But there was heartache for another Beijing Olympian Bradley Saunders, who was leading Frenchman Samir Machrouh 8-4 in the second round when he suffered a cut and the fight was stopped.

"He was going to win clearly but he caught an elbow I think and the doctor stopped it," said McCracken.

"It's one of those things, but it's really disappointing for Bradley, he was one of the favourites in the light-welterweight division."

see also
Campbell misses out on Europeans
20 May 10 |  Boxing
British boxing names podium squad
28 Jan 10 |  Boxing
Ex-pro McCracken to guide GB team
05 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Woodhall trains Olympic hopefuls
27 Jan 10 |  Boxing
British boxing chief Hickey quits
14 Sep 09 |  Boxing
GB fail to claim medals in Milan
09 Sep 09 |  Boxing
Campbell eyes big prize
12 Nov 09 |  Boxing
Campbell earns historic title win
15 Nov 08 |  Boxing
Edwards expresses GB boxing fears
14 Jan 09 |  Boxing
Amateur boxing explained
01 Mar 06 |  Boxing

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