THE European championships begin in Kharkiv, Ukraine on Wednesday (June 14). This will be a crucial test for the continent’s boxers as they need to reach the quarter-finals to qualify for the World championships later this year.

The GB team, who will compete as England, Wales and Scotland is as follows:

Galal Yafai (England, 49kgs)

Niall Farrell (England, 52kgs)

Peter McGrail (England, 56kgs)

Lee McGregor (Scotland, 56kgs)

Calum French (England, 60kgs)

Luke McCormack (England, 64kgs)

Pat McCormack (England, 69kgs)

Ben Whittaker (England, 75kgs)

John Docherty (Scotland, 75kgs)

Tom Whittaker Hart (England, 81kgs)

Cheavon Clarke (England, 91kgs)

Scott Forrest (England, 91kgs)

Frazer Clarke (England, 91&kgs)

The Irish squad is:

52kg – Flyweight – Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)

56kg – Bantamweight –  Kurt Walker (Canal)

60kg – Lightweight – Patrick Mongan (Olympic)

64kg – Light-welter – Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)

69kg – Welterweight – Steven Donnelly (All Saints)

75kg – Middleweight – Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin)

81kg – Light-heavy – Joe Ward (Moate)

91kg – Heavyweight – Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91+kg – Super-heavy – Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Speaking to Boxing News, GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken looked ahead to the tournament. “It’s always difficult. There’s been some difficult decisions to make,” he said. “Myself and the coaches are always looking to pick who we feel is the best boxer at that point. There’s no guarantee you’ll stay that boxer. We’ve seen it before where boxers have gone to a major tournament for GB but then the next major tournament a different boxer’s gone at their weight and sometimes people get surprised by that. It’s just done on form, it’s just done on who’s performing at that time and who’s in the best position to go and do well at a tournament. It’s top level boxing so all tournaments are hard and the draw is tough sometimes.

GB Boxing

“It’s a four year cycle, everyone gets the chance to stake their claim and show what they can do. If you miss out in a major and your form’s good and you keep working hard then you’ll get the opportunity at some point to prove yourself at another major.

“It’s the first time we have to go to a situation where you have to go to one tournament to qualify for a World championships. All of the boxers going to Ukraine will be trying to qualify for the Worlds but there’s not a second chance. You look at it in the previous cycle to qualify for Qatar you went to the European Games and the European championships. This time you just go to the European championships.

“You need the rub of the green, you need to perform well, you could do with not too stiff a draw in the early part of the tournament. It’s elite boxing, it’s the best in Europe. It’s always tough.”

For more from Rob McCracken, Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker don’t miss this week’s issue of Boxing News magazine