Boxing: British quintet make a splash at European amateur championship

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The Independent Online

Alan Minter and a dozen other British world champions have failed to win a medal at the European Amateur Boxing Championships for the last 50 years, but five British boxers returned from the most recent event in Moscow with two bronzes and three silvers.

On Saturday Khalid Yafai, 21, Iain Weaver, 20, and Tom Stalker, 25, all lost on points in the finals, to end a week that was the best showing by British boxers at the biennial event since 1961.

English boxers won four of the five British medals and that meant England finished third in the medals table, behind Ireland and Russia. Irish boxer Paddy Barnes added gold to the bronze he won at the Beijing Olympics.

"This is a team of boxing babies and that is something that we all need to remember," said Robert McCracken, a former British champion who is in charge of shaping the squad for 2012. "All of the medal winners and the rest of the team have a domestic opponent desperate to take their place in the squad – this is all about competition."

At the European Championships before the Athens and Beijing Olympics, only two British boxers managed a bronze from a starting line-up in excess of 35. The two medal winners never even went to the Olympics – amazingly, Amir Khan and James DeGale were two of the European failures.

"The performance of the whole team was fantastic and with a bit of luck the medal total could have been a lot higher," added McCracken, who thought that Birmingham City's Yafia, whose 18-year-old brother Gamal won a bronze, deserved gold.

"It's the Commonwealth Games next and the fight for selection will start again, but that is a nice headache to have!"