NORTH-EAST duo Kiaran MacDonald and Jack Dryden have been selected on the Great Britain boxing squad for this summer’s European Games, which is doubling as a qualification event for next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

Wearsider MacDonald, who is a member of Sunderland ABC, will compete at flyweight at the Games, which are being staged in the Polish city of Krakow between June 21 and July 2.

Newcastle-born Dryden, who learned his trade with Birtley ABC before joining the Team GB set-up, will be competing at featherweight at this summer’s flagship multi-sport tournament.

The pair are part of a 13-strong Team GB boxing squad comprised of seven men and six women that features seven of the fighters that won medals at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

MacDonald was a silver-medal winner at the Commonwealths, while Dryden is making his debut as part of the senior GB set-up.

There are 44 Olympic boxing spots on offer at the European Games, with two slots available in MacDonald’s flyweight category and four automatic spaces on offer in Dryden’s featherweight competition.

“The Paris Olympic cycle is shorter than the usual four years, owing to Covid, and means this qualifying event has come around very early,” said GB Boxing’s performance director, Rob McCracken. “So, this will be a test for the boxers.

“The European Games is always a top-quality competition and I expect this one to be especially challenging. It will be competitive in every weight class, and our boxers will need to be at their best to secure qualification as they are competing for a relatively small number of Olympic places.

“Changes to the weight categories for Paris 2024 mean the men’s selection was particularly competitive and has resulted in a lot of talented boxers in the GB Boxing squad missing out on this occasion, which is disappointing because many of them have the ability to go to the Olympic Games and do well.

“It is unfortunate, but this is the harsh reality of elite sport and means that the boxers we have selected need to look forward to the challenge and make the most of the opportunity.”

As well as MacDonald and Dryden, the seven male selections on the GB squad include 2021 European champion Harris Akbar, Commonwealth Games gold medallists Delicious Orie, Lewis Williams and Reese Lynch, and Welsh fighter Taylor Bevan, who won Commonwealth silver in Birmingham.