Behind the scenes with Britain's top amateur boxers
By Nabil Hassan
Britain's top amateur boxers are to compete in a new annual competition to identify the best male and female fighters ahead of the 2012 Olympics.
The best boxers from England, Wales and Scotland will compete in Liverpool against members of GB's podium squads.
"This will be a high-quality competition that will provide a real test for the existing GB boxers," said GB performance director Rob McCracken.
Liverpool's Echo Area will host the event from 12-13 November.
The tournament - which will be called the GB Amateur Boxing Championships - will see a semi-final and final in each of the men's and women's weight categories (10 male and three female classes), with a maximum of 52 fighters on show.
The tournament will have an influence on the make-up of the Olympic squad as we move into 2011
Northern Irish amateur boxers will not be part of the tournament though. In amateur boxing, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland compete as a unified team.
If a boxer who is not currently part of the GB boxing set up wins their weight division, they will automatically be invited to join the squad as a funded athlete for an assessment period and stake a claim for selection at the world championships in 2011 and the London 2012 Olympics.
"The tournament will have an influence on the make-up of the Olympic squad as we move into 2011," added McCracken.
"It is an opportunity for all of the competitors to showcase their skills and stake a claim to be part of the team for 2012."
It is hoped that the tournament will increase competition within the amateur scene, keep podium boxers sharp and give an opportunity to anyone who is in form domestically a chance to stake their claim for inclusion in the GB squad.
"It is important for all our boxers to have regular competition and to be continually challenged in order to get the best out of them," McCracken told BBC Sport.
While victory will see someone added to the GB squad, defeat for a podium member will not necessarily mean they drop out.
"I know the boxers from England, Scotland and Wales will want to make their mark and without doubt the door is still wide open when it comes to gaining selection for the podium squad and hopefully gain Olympic selection. There is still time," added McCracken.
"There is a lot of potential in the home nations and this is a really good opportunity for them to showcase their talent."
With 6,000 tickets available, the tournament will also give Britain's boxers an early insight into the type of atmosphere they are likely to get fighting in front of their own supporters at the London games. Boxing at the Olympics will be held at the ExCel in London's Docklands.
"You can train as much as you want but nothing replicates competition and it is important that all our boxers get used to fighting in front of home fans and hopefully a big crowd with all the emotion that experience brings," said McCracken.
British amateur boxing is currently on a high following June's European Championships in which the team returned from Moscow with five medals (three silver and two bronze).
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