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1948 veterans boost Britain's 2012 boxing hopefuls

1948 veterans boost Britain's 2012 boxing hopefuls

LONDON, December 4, 2011 - Five British boxers celebrated their Olympic selection at the 2012 Olympic Park and received some advice from veterans of the 1948 Games .

"It is all about hard work and dedication," said Ron Cooper, who boxed at lightweight in London.He had just finished his national service in the Royal Navy and had taken a job as a dock worker when he qualified for the Games. There was no media fanfare in the modern style.

"We won the ABA title at Wembley and as you came out, you went across and got measured for your Olympic coat. Simple as that," he said.

"The country was in a bad state then after six years of war and food was rationed," he said. "Now they've got all the food they want."

"My sisters made my boxing shorts from blackout curtains." said Bantamweight Tommy Proffitt.

Both men will be guests of honour at the Olympic boxing finals next year. Back in 1948 they boxed at the Empire Pool where organisers installed a boxing ring above the swimming pool.

(The venue is now called Wembley Arena and will be used for the Rhythmic Gymnastics and Badminton next year.)

22-year-old Super Heavyweight Anthony Joshua is the only London based fighter selected so far.

"Having it in London is a real bonus for me, as a Londoner but for all of us this is about representing the country." He said.

Bantamweight Luke Campbell missed out on selection for the 2008 Olympics but took silver at the 2011 World Championships in Azerbaijan to cement his place in the Olympic squad.

"Tom Stalker and I made a pact in 2008 to get our heads down and work and here we are." Said Campbell who is joined in the squad by light welterweight Stalker and fellow world silver medalist flyweight Andrew Selby.

Welterweight Fred Evans did get to Beijing, but only as an observer on the Olympic ambition programme, a scheme run by the British Olympic Association to give potential competitors a taste of the Olympics.

"I'd watched the Olympics on television but actually being there brought it home to me just how big and event the Olympics are," he said.

(Source: AIPS)