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Lowestoft's Ogogo 'over the moon' with GB call-up

PUBLISHED: 10:30 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:45 06 July 2010

IT'S ALL OGOGO: Anthony's striking new logo

IT'S ALL OGOGO: Anthony's striking new logo

THE Olympic aims of a boxer described as having "superstar" potential moved a step closer to becoming reality this week.

The Journal can today exclusively reveal that Anthony Ogogo has beaten off fierce competition from the best fighters in the UK to sign a long-term contract with the Great Britain Podium squad.

THE Olympic aims of a boxer described as having “superstar” potential moved a step closer to becoming reality this week.

The Journal can today exclusively reveal that Anthony Ogogo has beaten off fierce competition from the best fighters in the UK to sign a long-term contract with the Great Britain Podium squad.

And now it is all systems go for the 21-year-old, as he bids for Olympic gold at the London 2012 Games.

After making the trip to Sheffield to pen the new deal last week (Tuesday, December 22), Ogogo will now be based

at the state-of-the-art boxing hall at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield four days a week for intensive training ahead of a possible shot at the Commonwealth Games in India next October and a potential “dream” call-up to the 2012 Olympics.

This latest development comes after 18 months of injury heartache that was compounded by defeat in the semi finals of the senior ABA championships earlier this year.

But for Ogogo, the national call-up was the best birthday and Christmas present all rolled into one. For he was out enjoying a celebratory 21st birthday meal on November 24 when he received a telephone call from the new Team GB performance director Rob McCracken - which was such a surprise that Ogogo's new boss had to leave a message on the Lowestoft lad's answerphone, informing him of the call-up to the Podium squad.

McCracken, himself a former middleweight boxer who captured world silver as an amateur boxer in 1990 before turning professional in 1991, is more widely known as the trainer of WBC super-middleweight champion Carl Froch.

And Anthony's delighted club coach at Triple A, John Cremin, said: “It was a 21st birthday present from heaven really - you could not get a better one. “As the new performance director Rob McCracken has taken over from Terry Edwards (who coached the national squad at the Beijing Olympics) and we will work together on Anthony's programme and expectations.

“Obviously Anthony is over the moon to move up onto the podium group (after previously being on the performance squad) and being in the middleweight category (75kg) he will be joined in the squad by Repton's Frank Buglioni and Karl Kirkham from Northside in Manchester.

“They are fighting for the top spot and Anthony has to be on top form in pursuit of his dream.”

With the new squad training kicking off shortly, as well as sessions closer to home at the Triple A gym in St John's Road, Ogogo is now gearing up for an international tournament in Sweden on January 27.

“Anthony has not boxed since last May, so it is great news for him,” Cremin said. “Hopefully he will start the year off well and begin it as he means to as things could not have panned out any better.

“It is onwards and upwards and Anthony's really looking forward to this year, with the goal being a place in the Commonwealth Games team for India in October.”

With this in mind, the former national ABA champion and star of Celebrity Big Brother will soon be seen online at a new website - www.ogogo.tv - that is being devised by mainsource. And this week Ogogo's backers unveiled a striking new logo, which plays on the Olympic rings and his surname, as he pursues his 2012 dream - with car stickers and t-shirts all likely to be produced in the future.

“The logo is currently in the process of becoming a registered trademark and will be used on merchandise and in advertising to promote and raise funds towards ensuring Anthony has access to the best training equipment and facilities,” Kevin Hickey, from mainsource, said.

With previous interest from Ricky Hatton's promoters concerning a switch to the professional ranks, Ogogo and his coach Cremin have been in further talks with Hatton's management and football agent Dean Baker to “iron a few things” out.

“They appreciate Anthony's main aim is to fight at the Olympics and win gold, but when he decides to make his move (to the professional ranks) they will support him as they think he will be a superstar,” Cremin said.

And while he has been out of competitive action in the ring, Ogogo has however been kept busy with tough training schedules and sparring with the likes of James Degale and Sam Sexton.

“Anthony is focused on what he has to do and is looking very much like a big middleweight now as he builds into the weight,” Cremin said. “He is putting on the muscle mass, which you need, and with all the intensive training he will receive for the next three years this will hopefully take him all the way to 2012 - that is his goal in life.”

With McCracken now having the overall control of coaching and training programmes ahead of London 2012, under the remit of the British Amateur Boxing Association (BABA) - the lead body responsible for the development of Britain's elite boxers ahead of the Olympics, he will also oversee women's boxing, set to make its Olympic debut at London 2012.

And another Triple A boxing club national fighter could make a late push for inclusion at the 2012 Games, as 16-year-old Charlie Davison is set to receive some new ABA funding in the New Year, as the fighter - described as “something special” - also eyes a place in the Olympics squad.

And speaking about the successful Lowestoft club, which could spawn two Olympians, Cremin said: “The club is looking to expand and move to new premises. “Training nights are held in the gym in St John's Road on Mondays and Wednesdays, between 6-7pm for beginners and 7pm-9.30pm for boxers, with new members welcome.”

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