Mac eyes European title

The Northern Echo: HIGH HOPES: James McMeekin heads to next week's European Schoolboy Championships on the back of a very successful few months Picture: CHRIS BOOTH HIGH HOPES: James McMeekin heads to next week's European Schoolboy Championships on the back of a very successful few months Picture: CHRIS BOOTH

SHILDON Amateur Boxing Club’s James McMeekin will look to add another title to his impressive collection when he represents England at the European Schoolboy Boxing Championships in Hungary next week.

McMeekin, 14, from Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland, heads to Keszthely to compete at the highest level of schoolboy boxing on the back of a very successful few months.

In April, he claimed his third successive national title when he beat highly-rated Issac Johnson at the England Boxing Schoolboy Championships, before he claimed a Three Nations title with a win over Wales’ Rhys Edwards in May.

He followed that up with another win, this time over Irish champion Cilliane Spillaine, when he captained his country at a dual international in County Monaghan.

McMeekin, also known as Mac, controlled that bout from the start with skilful combinations and plenty of drive to push back his opponent, using upper-cuts to upset the Irishman’s rhythm.

And now, the 14-year-old will look to take his form onto the international stage when he competes against boxers from 24 countries including Russia, Ukraine and Czech Republic.

McMeekin’s first fight will take place on Monday, but his competitor is still unknown with the draw taking place two hours before the first round.

Not only will he be the only North-East representative, James is also the only fighter from the North of England in the squad of eight, and as well as tough opposition, the boxer will also have to contend with difficult conditions.

Temperatures in Hungary can reach 85 degrees and McMeekin’s camp has been warned there will be no air conditioning at the venue.

Despite that, McMeekin’s dad, Jon-jo, who will travel to support James with the rest of his family and coach Anthony Railton, believes his son is more than capable of bringing a medal home.

“He’s going over there off the back of a very good few months,” Jon-jo said. “He’s been winning titles since he was 11 and he’s going into the competition on top form.

“It will be tougher. The boys from Russia and Ukraine are normally very strong, but he’s good enough to get gold. Even a bronze would be a great achievement and would set him up nicely to carry on boxing for England.”

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