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Welsh boxing camp to get developing nations fighting fit for Olympics

15 February 2012

Promising boxing stars from underdeveloped nations are coming to Wales to get the best possible chance of qualifying for the London Olympics.

The boxers, who include women for the first time in Olympic history, will attend a demanding three-week training camp in Cardiff. They hope to get in shape for Olympic pre-qualifying competitions, so they can return to the UK this summer to compete at London 2012.

The ‘Road to London’ training camp, run by the Amateur International Boxing Association and supported by the Welsh Amateur Boxing Association, will be using the highly-advanced training facilities at Cardiff University. The Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Cardiff Council are all backing the venture, which sees Wales pulling together for the benefit of less wealthy nations.

Some 51 male boxers and 17 women will arrive in Wales on February 19 to start the high-intensity training regime. They represent 44 countries, taking in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia and the island nations of Oceania. The boxers have a full training programme planned for them, but there will also be time to tour Cardiff and get a sample of Welsh culture.

Three boxing rings have been set up at the Cardiff University’s Sport Training Village, along with 15 punchbags and the latest in conditioning equipment. The training schedule will include conditioning work, bag and pad work, and sparring, under the expert eye of an experienced coaching team. The largest of the boxing rings is the only Olympic specification ring in Wales at the moment. It will remain in Wales after the training camp, part of the Olympic legacy.

Welsh amateur boxers will also be training with the overseas athletes, giving them the chance to match up against some of the very best in the world. Wales’ own World Light Heavyweight Champion - and Cardiff University Maths graduate - Nathan Cleverly will also be dropping in to give some advice, as he builds up for his WBO title defence in Cardiff.

Head coach for the camp is the National Coach for Wales, Colin Jones, himself an Olympic boxing competitor from the 1976 Games in Montreal. Colin fought twice for the World Welterweight Championship and is also a former Welsh Sports Personality of the Year.

Colin said: "It’s fantastic that we in Wales can help boxers who have not had the same advantages. Welsh amateur boxers will also learn a great deal from training alongside some world-class fighters. The Olympic-specification ring will be part of a great legacy from London 2012 for sport here in Wales."

Sport Minister Huw Lewis said: "The AIBA choosing Wales is a testament to our world class training facilities, proximity and quality of accommodation, and state of the art sport support services. The camp will help raise the profile of the Olympic Games in Wales and the reputation of Wales in the world whilst also promoting Welsh boxing.

"I wish the boxers, coaches and support staff a warm Welsh welcome and the best of luck in the qualifying tournaments and general preparations for the London Olympic games."

Stuart Vanstone, Head of Cardiff University Sport, added: "We are delighted to be welcoming the athletes of the ‘Road to London’ training camp to Cardiff University. These are all very promising fighters – but many are from countries where training resources are limited. We are putting the best Welsh expertise and facilities at their disposal, to give them the best possible shot at making it to London."

Notes to Editor

‘The Road to London’ Training Camp will host a media event on Tuesday, February 21, at 12.45pm at Cardiff' University's Sports Training Village. There will be opportunities to watch the boxers in action, and to interview them and members of the Camp’s organisation team.

To attend, or for further details, please contact:

Stephen Rouse

Public Relations Office,

Cardiff University

Tel: 029 208 75596

Mobile: 07753 688232