Keighley’s boxing star, Muhammad Ali,Keighley’s boxing star, Muhammad Ali, added yet another title to his growing collection last weekend as he picked up the prestigious Three Nations title in Edinburgh.
Victory means the 17-year-old has now qualified to represent Great Britain at the World Youth Championships, held next month in Sofia, Bulgaria, where Ali will be hoping for a better experience than last year.
After losing out to the eventual winner in the first round at the previous tournament, the Yorkshire fighter said it has only made him more determined to succeed this year.
He said: “There was quite a lot of pressure going into last weekend’s tournament because I knew if I won then I would get the chance to travel to the World Championships in Sofia.
“I know I didn’t box to my best in the semi-final against my opponent but claimed a unanimous victory and learnt from that really to go on and win in the final as well.
“I went there thinking that I wanted to win a medal and I did just that.
“Now I want to ensure I perform to my best in the World Championships because last time I went, I got knocked out early so I’m more determined to succeed.”
The teenage competitor, who boxes out of Bury Amateur Club, currently trains with Bradford College’s AASE (Achieving Academic and Sporting Excellence) programme.
Due to Ali’s participation in Bulgaria, Bradford College will have had boxers competing at four AIBA World Championships in the space of 18 months - more than the rest of the AASE colleges in the country put together.
He said: “We were all of course hoping he would do well in Scotland in the weekend so for him to come back with a Gold medal and two victories in two days is obviously great.
“He is fantastic to work with and very dedicated to his training and that is why he is so successful.
“Next up is the World Youth Championships in Bulgaria and hopefully after that it will be the Youth Olympics which Muhammad definitely deserves a shot at.”
The Summer Youth Olympic Games are set to be held in Nanjing, China, in August and Ali says it would be a dream to make it on to the ‘biggest stage’.
“It would be amazing,” Ali said. “I’ve been working towards these goals since I was seven or eight years old so to be able to represent the country at the highest level would be the ultimate experience.”