Boxer Itauma on shortlist for SportsAid award

November 12, 2019 | by Matt Halfpenny


Junior boxer Enriko Itauma is one of 10 athletes who has been named on the shortlist for this year’s SportsAid One-to-Watch Award.

The 14-year-old from St Mary’s ABC in Chatham, Kent has been chosen after a sensational 2019 in the ring.

Itauma has claimed a hat-trick of golds in major international competitions during the qualifying period in addition to winning the England Boxing national Junior Championships 2019 in March.

He finished on top of the podium in the men’s 80kg+ category at the EUBC Junior European Boxing Championships 2019 and at the Schweriner Boxturnier 2019 (via stoppage) having done the same at the EUBC Schools European Boxing Championships 2018 at the same weight.

“I’ve been boxing for the past four or five years in total. One year I’ve won the national title and one year I’ve won the European title, but this year I won both,” said Itauma.

“For my age, that’s the best I can do because I’m not old enough for the [Youth] World Championships or Youth Olympics yet. I want to go (to them both) in the next couple of years, but then I want to turn pro and become world champion.

“I would say my brother [Karol] is a big inspiration. I don’t want to be second, but neither does he, so we push each other to the limits.

“I know Caroline Dubois who won it (One-to-Watch Award) last year and she told me more about SportsAid when we went to Germany recently. It’s a proud moment to be nominated because I’ve been working hard and all that training has finally paid off.”

The winner will be announced at the charity’s Celebrate the Next event, sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada, in London on Tuesday 19th November.

The annual award was launched in 2006 and looks to shine a spotlight on the achievements of Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects.

The success of the One-to-Watch Award’s illustrious ‘Hall of Fame’ speaks for itself as previous victors, including Tom Daley, Hollie Arnold MBE and Courtney Tulloch, have already amassed 42 senior medals from Olympic and Paralympic Games, World and European Championships, as well as Commonwealth Games, firmly establishing themselves as household names in British sport.

Last year, boxer Caroline Dubois received the One-to-Watch Award from Greg Rutherford MBE, who was a beneficiary of support from the charity in 2003 as a 17-year-old.

The Repton boxer had won women’s Under 60kg gold at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games, the AIBA Youth World Championships and the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships.

In addition to Itauma, the One-to-Watch Award shortlist for 2019 includes Youth Olympians and junior world champions – with many European and national accolades won by the nominees.

They are Aaliyah Powell, 17, from Huddersfield – Taekwondo, AbdAllah Eissa, 13, from Warwick – Squash, Amy Hunt, 17, from Newark – Athletics, Antonia Bunyan, 19, from York – Goalball, Charlie Aldridge, 18, from Crieffs – Cycling, Daniel Atkins, 18, from Pangbourne – Canoeing, Ellie Challis, 15, from Little Clacton – Para Swimming, Karim Chan, 19, from Colne – Para Athletics and Katie Shanahan, 15, from Bishopbriggs – Swimming.

The 10 athletes have been selected from around 1,000 rising British stars, supported by SportsAid, across more than 60 different sports during 2019.

Each year, athletes are nominated by their sport’s governing body on the strength of their talent and potential, demonstrating why the One-to-Watch Award has gained such a strong reputation for identifying the best up-and-coming prospects.

The expert judging panel includes Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless MBE (chair), Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian, Natasha Baker MBE, a five-time Paralympic champion, Nick Hope, BBC Sport’s Olympic and Paralympic Reporter, Joslyn Hoyte-Smith of the GB Olympians’ Association, and Ian Braid, Managing Director of DOCIAsport, this year.