SOUTHAMPTON’S Ryan Garner believes he will be the king of the ring before long after mapping out his blueprint for success – starting with a jump up to senior level next season.
The 16-year-old has already picked up his fair share of accolades, having topped the podium at the European amateur boxing junior championships in Russia last year, writes Paddy Dinham.
Now he is aiming to round off his junior career with a bang, with the national junior championships in May the next big competition in his sights.
However, the Sholing Technology College pupil, pictured below, admits he can’t help but cast one eye towards the professional game in years to come – once he gets the small matter of the Olympics out of the way.
“In May I’ve got the National Junior Championships, so hopefully I can win that and go from there,” said Garner. “This is my last year of juniors and then I go into youths.
“I’ll enjoy the step up because when you go into youth you do three-minute rounds; at the moment we do two minute rounds. The longer the fight goes on, the better I get so it will play into my hands.
“I want to compete for Team GB and go to the Olympics, Commonwealths and World Championships and then as my career goes on further I can go professional, get a good contract and fight for world titles.”
Such is Garner’s talent that he has been selected as an SSE Next Generation athlete, in which the country’s brightest sporting prospects are offered guidance in the form of workshops and mentoring.
One of the scheme’s mentors is six-times Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy and Garner admits he has soaked up a lot of experience already from one of his heroes, who he met at Loughborough University earlier this week.
“We were doing a questionnaire with Chris Hoy and he passed on a lot of his knowledge, it was inspiring meeting him,” said Garner, who competes for Sholing Boxing Club.
“It’s great to be part of the programme because the money will go towards travel and equipment and it will help me move on in my career.
“As a kid I was always hyper, mucking around and my brothers did it. I was too young but when I was into sport to channel my energy I just got a feel for it and ever since then I’ve just competed.”
l SSE are partnering with SportsAid to support the sporting stars of the future as part of their commitment to Glasgow 2014 and beyond with their SSE Next Generation ambassador programme. Keep up to date with the latest @YourSSE.