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'There has been a sea change in attitudes towards our sport,' says Boxing Scotland chairman

Scottish boxing is not short of ambition.

The Boxing Scotland finals take place at Emirates Arena next month, and have promised to be the 'biggest and best' championships of all time
The Boxing Scotland finals take place at Emirates Arena next month, and have promised to be the 'biggest and best' championships of all time

The sport's governing body is holding its annual national championships next month at Emirates Arena in Glasgow, a venue whose capacity makes it the largest event of its kind amongst the home nations' boxing associations. The sport, which has always appealed to Scotland's sense of itself as a gritty, working class country, is seeking a renaissance, and a combination of rule changes and the quality of the talent coming through the ranks, provides a perfect opportunity.

The finals, to be held next month, will include the likes of Lewis Benson, twice a Scottish and British senior champion. As well as fighting for national titles, the boxers will also be competing for places in Scotland's Commonwealth Games team, which will add further layers of intrigue and excitement to the competition. The sport intends to grasp an opportunity to appeal to more people while it is in the limelight.

"This year's event will be the biggest and best championships of all time," said Richard Thomas, chairman of Boxing Scotland. "One hundred and seventy boxers have entered, and never before have we had an Olympian, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, four boxers from the last Commonwealth Games team, two GB champions, a world silver medallist and a European youth bronze medallist, so we have the full depth and breadth of talent. Also, the headguards have been removed and the single-point computer scoring system, which had a lot of boxing people thinking that the boxing was a bit dull to watch, has been done away with and we're now down to a 10-point marking system.

"Traditionally, very technical boxers would box to the computer and if one boxer was four or five points ahead, they would fall back on a passive defence in the final round, or to move about a lot, which doesn't create excitement.

"So this will change the style of boxing and you expect boxers like young Charlie Flynn, the GB champion, to benefit. It's about giving these boxers the event that they deserve, in a setting that's befitting of their boxing ability."

Thomas believes there has been a "sea change" in attitudes to boxing, not least since national associations across the world have dropped "amateur" from their title, to remove a sense of inferiority in comparison with the professional ranks. "We have growth in numbers at grassroots level," he said. "We've done well, three medals above expectations in Delhi, a silver medal at the youth world championships, which Scotland has never done before. All the signs are positive."

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