Coulson praises whole-team approach after more Euro success

October 5, 2022 | by Matt Halfpenny


Lead National Coach Amanda Coulson has applauded the ‘fantastic achievements’ of the Team England squad which won 11 medals at the EUBC Junior European Championships 2022.

The Three Lions had seven boxers going in yesterday’s finals in Montesilvano, Italy and clinched four gold medals thanks to Ruby White (Sturminster Newton), Alice Pumphrey (The Purge), Ella Lonsdale (Sunderland East End) and Adam Maca (Rumbles), meaning they won Best Team for finishing top of the medals table.

Silvers went to John Tom Varey (Box Smart Elite), Leighton Birchall (Jennings Gym) and Nathan Barrett (Powerday Hooks), while Keira Bowden (Redcar), Lilly Deacon (Platinum), Mohammad Safari (The Ring) and Luke Rodda (West Ham) took bronzes.

Monae Smith (Jennings Gym), Josh Jarvis (West Ham), Zayan Sadiq (Pinewood) and Conor McCormack (Panthers) were the other England boxers to compete, who all got their valuable first taste of a major international tournament experience.

The tally of 11 medals is just one shy of the record tally of 12 secured by an England team at the Junior Europeans (four golds, three silvers and five bronze in 2018, when the team had 19 boxers as opposed to 16 this time) and is the joint best number of golds won since girls and boys first boxed together.

“It was a privilege to see the whole team compete and acquit themselves so well to do England proud,” said Coulson. “Their achievements across the last week have been fantastic and there is much more to come from these boxers in the future.

“Three of them (Safari, White and Lonsdale) get the chance to repeat their medal successes as year young and the others will be able to move up to the Youth ranks and look to prove their talents at that higher level.

“The Junior Europeans has always been a particularly tough tournament, and the expectations were high after the way we performed at the Youths and Schools, not from us as a coaching team, but from outside.

“But they were selected on an ability we saw in them to unlock their potential – and they have all definitely done that and developed their boxing and moved it on from where they were at the start of the selection process.

“To see them listen and take in what we are trying to teach them, especially around distance, tempo and space, makes you proud, because they have really bought into the process and wanted to learn.

“Only one of the team (Pumphrey, who won the Schools Europeans in 2019) has competed on this stage before, but the way they performed to finish as best team shows that like the Youths (second best team) and Schools (best team) before them, we are a country to be respected now we are back after the Covid-19 break.”

While Coulson attended both the Youth and Schools Europeans, she was unable to be there for this Junior Europeans because of prior commitments.

But she was delighted to see from afar that the successful blueprint that has been established was maintained despite changes in the team’s coaching and management personnel.

Coulson said: “It’s very pleasing to be able watch my colleagues leading the team into tournaments such as this and carrying over the philosophies and methods that have been put in place.

“We are all on the same page in what we are trying to do and how we are trying to do it and the proof of that was the great results achieved with different people on the coaching teams for each of the trips.

“Everything is about trying to get the kids to enjoy themselves and the experience of competing in this environment – which is different to when competing domestically – while still helping them to take ownership of their performances.

“We know if we do that and the boxers are in a good place, plus they’ve had the right preparation, then they have everything they need to perform – as the results have shown.”

“Ivan Cobb, who led the team out in Italy, fellow coaches John Stubbs, Mick Maguire and Rachel Bower and Team Manager Martin Webb have done a superb job and I would like to thank them for their efforts.”

Coulson was also quick to pay tribute to the clubs, club coaches and regions, not just for developing the boxers at grass roots level, but also then facilitating the provision of sparring opportunities to allow the 16-strong squad to hone their skills.

“I always say that the majority of the work in producing these quality boxers that we have coming through is down to the clubs and coaches and we just provide that extra one per cent by giving them opportunities to box internationally and preparing them for that stage,” said Coulson.

“I have sent a message to all the club coaches who developed these boxers because they all deserve a big pat on the back for playing a huge part in these medals.

“There have been other people who have played their part, not least the parents, several of who travelled to Italy to support, who are there to help their children whenever they can. The club coach-parent-England coach ‘triangle’ is critical to the England programme’s success.

“Then there are those boxers who act as sparring partners and those people in clubs and the regions who are prepared to go out of their way to help make arrangements and find suitable opponents when we ask for sparring partners.

“Everyone who has contributed is part of the ‘best team’ award that has been won.

“The challenge is always to continue the success with the next crop of boxers and for that to happen, we will once again need the support of all concerned to make it happen.”

England Boxing’s Head of Performance, Chris Connelly, added: “It was incredible to see the success out at the Junior Europeans, once again showing the depth of talent across Team England.

“Before I took up post, I had seen the amazing achievements at the European Schools, and England have once again gone out and topped the medal table. Credit goes to all of the boxers out in Italy, who all have a massive future ahead of them.

“It’s clear that England are a force to be reckoned with, but that doesn’t just happen overnight and so many people contribute to that.

“The coaches out there have guided them brilliantly to success, but massive credit also goes to club coaches across the country as well as anyone else who has had an input. Hopefully, these boxers can have a small rest now before getting ready for the next step in their development.”

Junior Euros 2022; Finals Day round-up.

All pics courtesy of the EUBC and Massimo Mucciante, except Leighton Birchall, courtesy of Martin Webb.