Amateur boxer Lewis Benson returned home with the gold medal after competing at the Hakija Multi-National Tournament in Bosnia – then revealed he is moving up a weight division.
Despite his unprecedented success at 64kg this year, the 21-year-old Scottish champion is ready to prove his worth at 69kg. Benson was poised to go head-to-head with Josh Taylor for the right to represent Scotland at next year’s Commonwealth Games at 64kg, but has decided to move up to avoid a clash with his Lochend clubmate. Ahead of Lochend’s final club show of the season on Friday, Benson will step into the ring against Keir Hardie’s Gary Smith, with the aim of making a name for himself in the same fashion he did at 64kg.
“Keeping the weight was getting harder and harder all the time.” Benson said, “but I’ve started looking at the bigger picture for Glasgow 2014 and by the time the Games come around, I think if I move up a weight then it will be a lot easier for me. I think it will be better for the gym as well as there were two of us competing for that weight (Benson and Josh Taylor) and now we will be at different weights.
“I now need to prove my mark at 69kg. There is talk of the British Championships being cancelled this year, which is really disappointing because I wanted to defend my title. But I’m ready to go on Friday and I want to be the top boy at my new weight. I’m 69kg at the moment so only time will tell; I have 14 months to get myself into shape for the Commonwealth Games.”
The Lochend fighter was part of a Scottish side that topped the medal table in Bosnia with four golds, a silver and a bronze. Benson comfortably beat Slovakian opponent Tadej Mernik in the 64kg final after receiving a first round bye.
Benson added: “I boxed really well and won every round in the final so I’m pleased. I’ll be ready to go again in August, but this has been my best year because I’ve turned everything around as I didn’t have a great start to the season. Since I left my job, I’ve won two golds and a silver medal.”