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Pontypool boxer Rosie Eccles prepares for Birmingham 2022

PONTYPOOL boxer Rosie Eccles is stepping up her preparations ahead of her second Commonwealth Games this summer.

Eccles won silver in the 69kg category at the games in the Gold Coast in 2018, and has since been added to the GB Boxing World Class programme.

The 25-year-old said the full-time residential programme, run by Welsh Boxing, has had a hugely positive impact on her ahead of Birmingham 2022.

“What Welsh Boxing has done has been a game changer,” she said, speaking from the Wales camp ahead of the games. “I was 18 when I first came on to the program – we had regular weekend camps but it was never enough.

“From the age of 19, we’ve had a full-time program in place. It means we get top quality training and coaching week in, week out.

“We train three times a day with a mix of running, strength training and sparring.

“Colin (Jones, Welsh national coach) has created a really good culture where we all work very hard. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him and the program that Welsh Boxing has created.

“The success in terms of the numbers of boxers from Wales on the GB program just speaks for itself.”

Rosie Eccles has praised Welsh Boxing’s training for the Commonwealth Games as a ‘game changer’. Picture: Steve Pope/Sporting Wales.

Welsh boxing is on a high right now, with two-time European Amateur Boxing Championships medalist Eccles, and Caerphilly’s Lauren Price becoming Wales’ first ever world champion and Olympic champion before turning professional this year.

Performance director Chris Type said: “Currently, we have the highest number of boxers we’ve ever had on the GB program – Wales makes up 20 per cent of the program – and the majority of those are on the highest level of support.

“That’s an astonishing piece of the pie for a small nation.”

Welsh boxers returned home from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with four medals, led by Lauren Price who made history by becoming Wales’ first female boxer to win gold.

But despite the impressive two golds, a silver and a bronze from Welsh boxers in Australia, national coach Colin Jones is confident they can improve on the tally in Birmingham.

“In the Gold Coast, we were incredibly proud of what we achieved and the results actually put Wales fourth on the boxing medal table,” said former British, Commonwealth and European welterweight champion Jones.

South Wales Argus: Welsh national team head coach Colin Jones.  Picture: Steve Pope/Sporting Wales.Welsh national team head coach Colin Jones. Picture: Steve Pope/Sporting Wales.

“We’re very ambitious and we think we can improve on our achievements in the Gold Coast.

“That’s really down to the fact that seven years ago we completely redesigned our programme.

“We’ve been able to achieve a full time, residential program at the Sport Wales National Center for boxers that aren’t yet part of the GB set-up.

“Before this, our boxers were spread out across Wales and we’d meet up at camps but now it’s much more consistent and we are with the boxers week in, week out.”

“We have so much more contact time with the boxers now,” said performance director Type, who was appointed seven years ago.

“It means our best boxers are with the best coaches. Colin leads the boxing side of the program and his vast knowledge and understanding of what it takes to develop a boxer to international level is quite incredible.”

As part of its full-time programme, Welsh Boxing works alongside Sport Wales’ Institute team to help its boxers manage their nutrition, lifestyle, sleep patterns and weight.

“You don’t see all this on the day of the competition but it’s absolutely critical in developing a brilliant boxer,” said Type.

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