By Wayne Bartlett: Having overcome obstacles both inside and outside of the ring, Olympic qualifier Anthony Ogogo is finally setting his sights on gold at London 2012.
In spite of a shoulder injury that has come back to haunt him more than once throughout a decorated amateur career, Ogogo finally achieved his goal to become an Olympian just weeks ago after reaching the final of the Olympic Qualifiers in Trabzon, Turkey.
Sealing his place at London 2012 with a 14-7 victory over Belarusian Vitali Bandarenk, the Suffolk puncher first had to get through a hellish quarter-final with old foe Jaba Khositashvili of Georgia.
“That was the worst 9 minutes of my life,” said the likeable middleweight. “I didn’t box with tactics, he’d beat me before and I think I was thinking about that.
“I boxed him when I first injured my shoulder so all the emotions came out. I’d been quite level headed about the whole thing up to that point but on the day I let it all get on top of me.”
Down by a massive eight points in the final round after a series of fouls and roughhouse tactics from Khositashvili, Ogogo threw everything but the kitchen sink at his Georgian adversary, to level matters at 14-14 at the final bell.
Deservedly getting the nod after a countback, the 23-year-old hopes the quarter-final tear up isn’t something that will occur too often.
“The only thing I’m pleased about is I got through it, but I never want to be in a fight like that again!”
Set to face home favourite Adem Kilicci in the final, a twinge in his shoulder when warming up beforehand caused Ogogo to withdraw from the competition as a precaution, with Olympic qualification already in the bag.
With Britain’s Amir Khan and James DeGale going on to achieve success in the pro ranks, many will speculate as to the 23-year-old’s plans after London 2012, but it’s not something the Lowestoft based puncher is worrying about.
“I’ve worked all my life to get to these Olympics so I don’t want to waste it thinking about whats going to happen afterwards. Just talking about it makes me excited. I just can’t wait to do it.
“It’s going to be a journey and I’ll do my best to see it through but I guarantee you’ll see somebody that’s very passionate about the sport and just the embodiment of commitment and hard work.”
It’s been a long and successful career for Anthony Ogogo that’s seen him win silver at the European Championships and Commonwealth Games, claim two ABA titles and his ‘pinnacle so far’ of gold at the World Juniors in 2005.
But it’s amongst more humble surroundings that he feels was a special moment.
“Up there with anything was winning my first schoolboy title at the Barnsley Metrodome,” said the popular puncher. “I was 14 and my mum my sisters hadn’t seen me box before.
“I know it’s such a small thing now but to me, to become a champion for the first time was amazing.”
If Ogogo does go on to claim Olympic gold this summer, standing on the winner’s podium at London’s ExCel must surely run the Barnsley Metrodome pretty close.
Anthony Ogogo, Team GB’s Middleweight representative for the London 2012 Olympic Games, is proud to be powered by the UK’s leading sports nutrition brand, Maximuscle.
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