KIRKHAM amateur boxer Bill Hodgson is punching his weight when it comes to helping Olympic aspirations, writes STEVE SIMPSON.
Hodgson went to the Institute of Sport in Sheffield to spar with Team GB’s Super heavyweight gold medal hope Anthony Joshua, ranked the country’s no.1 super-heavy and ninth in the world.
Kirkham gym boss Frank Ellis organised the sparring session with Team GB boxing director Robert McCracken.
He was so impressed that Kirkham & Fylde ABC received a request the following day from the Amateur Boxing Association informing them that Hodgson had been selected for a week-long training camp with the Team GB Elite Squad.
A delighted Hodgson said: “It’s certainly something to look forward to.
“I’ve been struggling to get matched to fight let alone get some sparring, so to be in a position to get some rounds under my belt at the highest possible level is fantastic”.
“My last two opponents for the North West ABA belt have withdrawn at late notice, so I’ve been without a bout for well over three months.”
Hodgson won the Class A, ABA Super Heavyweight title and has stopped seven of his last eight opponents inside two rounds.
On sparring Anthony Joshua, Hodgson added: “He’s really quick for such a big man. His hand speed was much faster than I expected but I was pleased with how I did. I made him work, caused him some problems and made him think.
“I did notice how sharp he was – he has the very best of sparring and trains three times a day. I have to fit my training in between work and struggle to get some regular sparring. That showed in the later rounds and he’s an elite fighter.”
As for Joshua’s Olympic prospects, Hodgson added; “I think Anthony will do really well in the Games. I’ve no doubts he’ll win a medal.”
“I’m looking forward to going back to Sheffield and helping him prepare– it helps me too.
“That’s what it’s all about for me now, learning and getting the experience,
“I’ve boxed former British champion Tyson Fury and sparred him as pro.
“Getting in with those guys allows you to benchmark yourself and see how good you can be. “I get a great deal of confidence from it all.”