WITH the GB team securing Britain’s largest haul of Olympic boxing medals in 100 years, a squad of remarkable talents will be looking at the next phase in their careers. Many will turn pro and could spearhead a new era in British professional boxing.
Pat McCormack and twin brother Luke have already decided to turn over. “This team’s the best team I’ve ever been on. We broke all the records, we’ve won medals in every tournament we’ve been to, the team’s unbelievable and we’re all going to push on and do big things,” Pat tells Boxing News. “When you’ve been on the squad this long together, you’re teammates for life, you’ve been all over, fighting in these tournaments together, supporting each other, shouting for each other. All going through the same things and all going for the same dream so we’ll be friends for life.”
The gold medal favourite going in, he lost his welterweight final after a brilliant performance from Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias, now a two-weight Olympic champion. “Good experience, being in with the best of the best. Didn’t feel I was out of my depth. I thought I won the first round and he just edged the second two. But I’ll learn from it and push on in what’s next and it’ll make us a better fighter,” Pat said. “[He’s] double Olympic champion, I think that was his fourth Olympics, he got bronze at Beijing, when I was like 13 so he’s been around the block and a very, very good fight.”
It was a final of the highest quality. McCormack putting in all his efforts as he went for victory even when too far behind on the cards in the last round. He can leave with no regrets. “I was a bit thrown I never got the first round. I lost the first round 4-1 and I thought I won the first round. So I was boxing off the backfoot and I felt like after losing the first round on the backfoot I sort of had to go at him a little bit. Try and push the fight. But it is what it is. I’ve got a silver medal and I’m happy,” he said. “I’m proud of it. I’m going home happy. I’ve medalled at every major tournament there is. Worlds, Europeans, Commonwealths, Olympics, I’ve ticked all the boxes, got medals at all the major tournaments and I’m ready for the next step.
“I’m finishing on a high, it’s not the medal I wanted but it’s still second best so a good platform to turn professional on and I’m ready for the future.”
His twin brother Luke McCormack, at 63kgs, also came up against an outstanding Cuban, Andy Cruz, already a two-time World gold medallist. “He [Luke] boxed very well. He’s had a lot of injuries this year, he had a stress fracture in his foot and then he hurt his shoulder,” Pat said of his brother. “Coming out here he’s drew the World bronze medallist first [Manish Kaushik], beat him. Good win for him there. Then he’s drew the two-time World champion from Cuba and put a good fight up but obviously never got the win. It’ll put him in good stead for the pros. Being in the ring with someone like that, he’s probably like the Mayweather of amateur boxing. He’ll probably win gold again, he’s that good.”
“The support’s been unbelievable, all the messages and all the messages on social media, everyone wishing us all the best and telling us I should be proud of what I’ve done. So the support’s been unbelievable and it’s going to be good to be able to take that through to the next step and everyone is going to be able to watch us in the flesh,” he concluded. “This is only the start. This is like an apprenticeship and I’ve passed my apprenticeship, done everything I can so ready for the next step and hopefully bigger and better things to come.”