Burnley boxer Joe Crawford is flying the flag for his country after being awarded a place on the England team.
The former Sandygate ABC fighter attended an induction and training day at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, the headquarters for GB Boxing, where he became the first ever amateur boxer from the town to be placed on the England Boxing talent pathway.
After a short induction and presentation, strength and conditioning tests from specialist England coaches and a rigorous sparring session with some of the best prospects in the country, Crawford was presented with his new England international boxing kit.
The former GB silver medallist, who made the switch to Queensway ABC 18 months ago, has been making the two hour round trip up to four times a week to train at Rochdale’s Full Contact Performance Centre.
Under the guidance and tutelage of head coach David Hodkinson, Crawford won the gold medal at the prestigious Hull Box Cup in September where he beat Scottish champion and European international Darrel Russell (Highland ABC).
He then saw off Odells ABC English supremo Louai Ali in Birmingham the following day to claim his first title for his new club. Crawford, who has appointed Josh Kennedy from FX Fitness as his strength and conditioning coach, will now attend monthly training sessions with his England team mates up and down the country,with the first one taking place in Manchester tomorrow.
Now, armed with the expertise of international coaches, nutritional advice, guidance and mentoring, the ambition is to be selected to represent his country in forthcoming international tournaments.
Crawford’s first bout of the new season saw him drawn against multi-titled England and GB gold medallist Ali Akbar Javid from Bury ABC in the semi-finals of the CYP England Championships in Manchester.
In an enthralling and tactical contest, one for the purists, Crawford eventually had the edge with a three punch combination that stunned his confident opponent and set the tone for the remainder of the fight.
Crawford continued to force Javid on to the back foot with his quick hands and upped the pressure once more in the final round. It was a career best performance from the Burnley boxer, who had forced Javid’s work to become ragged and ineffective, and he was awarded with a unanimous victory.
That paved his way to the final where he was joined by home fighter Curtis Magee of Clayton ABC. A strong and rugged fighter, Magee drove forward constantly with hooks and uppercuts but Crawford kept his composure well to land with three and four punch combinations.
Crawford used his feet well to keep his foe moving, dictating the pace, and he eventually ran out a unanimous winner to land his sixth consecutive North-West title at six different weights.
Crawford, who went on to stop the Merseyside and Cheshire champion inside the first round in his next outing, will compete in Whitehaven on June 8th when he will be representing England against Scotland.
He has been matched with European bronze medallist, former GB gold medallist and current GB silver medallist Kyle Kerr of Forgewood ABC.
Anyone wishing to sponsor Crawford with his training and/or travelling expenses, please contact Kevin Crawford on 07955 137471 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.