Olympic hopeful Campbell is GB Boxing's 'benchmark'

By Ben DirsBBC Sport

GB Boxing head coach Rob McCracken said bantamweight Luke Campbell was the "benchmark" for the rest of his boxers ahead of the European Championships.

Campbell, who won European gold in 2008, has won three successive golds going into the event, which takes place in Ankara and begins on Friday.

The team has won 26 medals in seven international events this year.

"Luke has been a revelation and without doubt he's the best in the world at 56kg," McCracken told BBC Sport.

"A couple of years ago he was struggling with injury and his form dipped for a few months and he never got picked for the Europeans [in 2010].

"But he said to me, 'I'll turn it all around, I'll win tournaments, I'll get my spot back', and he's done that."

McCracken also praised the perseverance of middleweight Anthony Ogogo, who was dropped from the GB squad in 2009 but has won gold, silver and bronze this year, on top of silver at last year's Commonwealth Games.

"It wasn't working for Anthony a couple of years ago but through sheer determination, and graft, and obviously a lot of talent, he showed to other members of the squad who might be struggling, this is how you do it," said McCracken.

"You work your socks off, you stay disciplined, you want it more than anything and you get there. He's turned his career completely around, it's fantastic what he's achieved in the last 18 months."

McCracken said the intensity within the camp is increasing as qualifying for next year's Olympics in London draws closer. Qualifying begins at the World Championships in Korea in September.

"It's all about getting the number one spot at your weight," said McCracken, "so the competition is healthy, and quite fierce at times, and that's what we needed to create.

"You have to keep a lid on it, sparring can get a little bit 'Rocky' at times. We had a little bit recently at 64kg, and a little bit at 91kg, because there are two or three vying for the spot.

"It can get a bit heavy but the competition is essential to get the best number ones."

GB boxing squad: Charlie Edwards, (49kg), Khalid Yafai (52kg), Andrew Selby (52kg), Luke Campbell ((56kg), Sean McGoldrick (56kg), Martin Ward (60kg), Josh Taylor (60kg), Tom Stalker (64kg), Aston Brown (69kg), Scott Cardle (69kg), Fred Evans (69kg), Antony Ogogo (75kg), Obed Mbwakongo (81kg), Danny Price (91kg), Anthony Joshua (91+kg).