Times ABC teenager tipped to box at Olympic Games

Zak Chelli with Times ABC head coach Dave Ryan

Zak Chelli with Times ABC head coach Dave Ryan - Credit: Archant

Times ABC coach Dave Ryan is convinced middleweight prospect Zak Chelli can realise his dream of boxing at the Olympics – given the right financial backing.

The 17-year-old, who was controversially edged out in his bid for a third England Youth Championships title last month, caught the eye of national selectors at a recent training camp in Bradford.

He is expected to box for England at upcoming tournaments and Ryan, who is head coach at the King’s Cross club, believes Chelli is capable of going much further.

“I think he can go all the way to the Olympics and I want to give the boy the chance to do what he wants to do,” Ryan told the Gazette.

“The thing is, there are a lot of costs involved. The national finals were in Durham, over three days, and for Zak and his family that cost hundreds of pounds.

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“I’ll be talking to the ABA about helping to get him funding and anyone else who can help to sponsor him should get in touch.

“Zak was picked to go and train with England last week and I’ve been told they really took a shine to him, patted him on the back and said he’s going to be their number one at 75kg.

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“He sparred with some of the top boys there, including the lad who he boxed in the national final, and he should get to some of the international tournaments coming up.”

Chelli, who joined Times from Dale Youth ABC last year, had already won two national junior championships prior to his recent defeat by Ben Whittaker (Wodensborough) on a split decision in Durham.

The Times boxer then challenged Whittaker to a rematch on the club’s open show at the Boston Dome, Tufnell Park, a week today (Thursday), but his opponent refused.

His elder brother, Yahia – who also moved to the north London club last year – will not be appearing at the Boston Dome as he is due to begin his England Elite Championships campaign three days later.

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