Olympic and Commonwealth Games hopeful Toro Croft Senior has taken the first steps towards achieving his dream after receiving an international call-up.
The 15-year-old Ribblesdale High School pupil gained recognition from England’s talent spotters when reaching the semi-final stage of the England Boxing National Junior Championships.
The teenager, who won the battle with Alfie McKittrick in the quarter-finals, took on eventual winner Blu Bowers, who became a six-time National champion having comfortably beaten Khalid Saleh in the tournament’s showpiece.
The opening round in Rotherham saw both top class competitors testing the waters and trying to figure each other out.
The second round saw Bowers attacking and pushing the pace as Toro boxed on the back foot walking his opponent onto eye catching counter attacks.
The third and final round saw both boxers battle it out in the middle of the ring in a desperate attempt to get the nod from the judges, each landing quality blows to boost their hopes.
At the end of a very competitive bout it was Blu who was given the nod from the judges to advance to the finale.
Coach and cornerman Mohammed Ihsan said: “I feel it was a close fight which could have gone either way.
“Both boxers put on an excellent display of boxing skill. I feel we may have edged it a little but that’s boxing for you; it’s part of the game.
“You either win or you learn and I’m entirely sure young Toro will be back again in the next Championships and will go all the way to win them.”
The teenager, who fights out of the newly named Ribble Valley Lions Boxing Club, represented his country in the Tri-Nations tournament last year but has now been handed a spot in the England training camps.
Coach Mohammed Sirtaj commented: “Hearing about Toro getting the call up from the England team is wonderful news.
“Being noticed by the England team as a talent and being invited on to their training camps is the first step towards getting into major competitions like the Commonwealth Games and Olympics. It’s not an easy task and not just anybody gets that call.”
Coach Mohammed Sarfraz added: “Despite the result of the fight the England scouts have noticed Toro’s talent and selected him and that goes to show how good he really is.
“They have seen potential in him and selected him and I’m fully confident he will shine and represent England on the bigger stages one day.”