By Andy Baber, Sportsbeat
Lewis Richardson welcomed a standing eight count as an added bonus after the Colchester fighter came through a tough opening contest at Birmingham 2022.
The 26-year-old overcame another home nations hopeful in Haaris Khan of Wales in his Round of 32 bout at the NEC, taking the victory on points in a unanimous decision.
Richardson was Britain’s foremost male middleweight for the Tokyo cycle but missed out after losing in the qualification event to eventual Olympic silver medallist Oleksandr Khyzhniak.
But he won silver at May’s European Championships and now feels confident he can upgrade that to a gold at the Commonwealth Games after enjoying a dream start in Birmingham.
“A proud moment for myself, I’m really happy to get the first victory out of the way and I got a nice little standing eight count out there which I don’t get too often so I was happy with that,” he said.
“There’s always a little bit of nerves but I’m confident in myself, I’ve had a good year and I’m just hoping to push on from that really.
“At these major competitions it’s just about getting through the stages really until we get to the business end of things, so I’m through the Round of 32 now and into the last 16.
“I’m just looking to push on. The amount of people to name who have supported me is countless to be honest, but my friends, family, my sponsors, GB Boxing, Team England, National Lottery as we’re UK Sport funded so it makes a massive difference for us to train full time.
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“We’re very fortunate because of that and I just want to push on further. Gold medal is the aim and I believe it’s achievable, taking it one fight at a time and going onto the next.”
Richardson is not just confident about his own chances in Birmingham, either.
He is part of a 14-strong squad which is aiming to better Team England’s boxing medal haul at Gold Coast 2018, where they picked up six golds, one silver and two bronze medals.
And Richardson feels the home support could drive the team to even more Commonwealth Games success as he looks to make the most of his own London 2012 moment.
“We’ve got a very, very strong team. We’re in England, that’s a special moment for us all and we just want to make the most of it and enjoy every moment and perform to our max,” he added.
“I haven’t boxed in England for a good few years now and obviously never boxed on this stage in England so it was extra special. I remember watching the London 2012 Olympics as a 15-year-old and enjoying every moment of it and ten years on I’m at the next biggest event from that.
“I’m looking forward to going further in the competition.”
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