AIBA World Boxing Championships: Aqeel Ahmed targets first Scottish medal

Scotland's Aqeel Ahmed
Aqeel Ahmed (left) in action at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014

Aqeel Ahmed wants to be the first Scot to win a medal at amateur boxing's World Championships, which start in Hamburg on Friday.

The Motherwell light flyweight is joined in Germany by Glasgow's Sean Lazzerini and Lee McGregor from Edinburgh.

"Wherever I go, I go for gold," the 23-year-old told BBC Scotland.

"If you have in your mind the other guy is better than you, there's no point in fighting him."

Ahmed qualified for the worlds by reaching the last eight at the European Championships earlier this year.

"The worlds can be as tough as the Olympics in this category," he said. "The top eight seeds were all at Rio in 2016.

"That doesn't usually happen as a few usually turn pro after an Olympics, but in my category, the gold and silver medal winners are competing."

Ahmed is desperate to collect a medal after "falling short" of his own expectations at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

"There were two gold and two bronze medals for Scottish boxers in Glasgow," he said. "I was heartbroken to miss out, I was distraught.

"But I am a hugely improved boxer and I've seen that I have the possibility to win medals."

Ahmed has his sights firmly set on another Commonwealth Games venture in Australia's Gold Coast next year.

"It'll be four years since Glasgow then, four years and this time I'll be a much better fighter," he said.

'Focus on doing the thing I love'

Like Ahmed, Lazerrini, who fights at 81kg, is able to train full-time before the Commonwealth Games after receiving additional funding from governing body Sportscotland.

"The extra £12,000 over two years means we don't have to work and can concentrate on training," said the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist.

"It lets you just focus on being a boxer and doing the thing I love. You don't have to worry about paying for petrol or buying healthy food.

"I don't like to look too far ahead, I just like to take one fight at a time.

"My main target is making the Scottish team for the Gold Coast in 2018, but I want to do as well as I can in these, my first world championships.

"All the best boxers in the world will be there.

"The fighter who beat me at the Europeans [Muslim Gadzhimagomedov of Russia] went on to win gold; he's seeded number two in Hamburg, so this is a good chance for me to go and make a statement."

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