IT was a new, slimline Sean Lazzerini who brought a fine European silver medal back to Scotland from Vladikavkaz, Russia, yesterday. The 21-year-old from Glasgow has sacrificed the late-night treats, post-fight pizzas and pared back the portion sizes on his family’s Italian-influenced favourites in order to drop from light heavyweight to middleweight and the hardline diet only seems to have intensified his hunger for success.

While he ultimately found his hometown final opponent Aleksei Semykin too much to chew on, given the opponents ranged against hm and the 6,000-mile round trip to a former Soviet bloc outpost which isn’t too far away from where the Scotland team are situated, silver was still a more than decent result. His team-mate Vicky Glover also came back with a bronze medal, Scotland’s first ever in the female ranks.

“It was disappointing to lose in the final but obviously I got a good few wins and the Russian guy [Semykin] was really good,” admitted an honest Lazzerini. “He was the complete boxer, he could bide his time, he could switch, he could do everything basically. He was beatable, but I didn’t fight my best. When you think about it now, you think what you could have done differently. He was a bit of a class act but it wasn’t like he was out of my league. He had the edge but I felt I finished quite strong and might have nicked the last round.”

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If pugilism runs in both parts of Lazzerini’s Glasgow-Italian family, this heritage has also bequeathed him plenty of pizza and pasta too. For much of his teenage years the 21-year-old felt his future would unfold on the rugby field rather than the boxing ring, but aside from perhaps a small re-lapse last night as he celebrated his new medal with his family, he is adamant that this new-found discipline in his diet gives him his best chance of success.

Disappointed at being on the wrong end of a hometown decision against an Australian competitor in the first round at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Lazzerini was out in Vladikavkaz competing for Scotland but as part of the GB Olympic squad. The hard work starts now to make sure he gets the chance to compete in Tokyo, after which there is the likelihood of him following contemporaries such as Lee McGregor by turning professional.

“It was a bit different for me this time,” admitted Lazzerini. “I had to be a bit more dedicated with my diet and stick with the training. I think it has brought me on a bit more as a boxer, having to train harder and be more dedicated. I went down weight category and it has been a good move for me, everybody is more my size. I was giving away a lot of height and weight in the category above. This is a lot better for me.

“I am not eating chocolate before I go to bed now, it’s just not worth it,” he added. “I love my meals, I love eating, but I have had to cut down the portion size at meal times too and no fizzy drinks. I love my pastas and that, but I can’t have too many big carbohydrate meals. As soon as I finished my fights, I was always having a pizza but I’ve had to take a step back from that.”


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If Josh Taylor is a prime example of a boxer for whom a lengthy amateur career has done no harm at all in the pro ranks, the next phase of Lazzerini’s journey gets under way at the GB boxing home base in Sheffield. Anthony Joshua, a former Olympic gold medallist from 2012, is still a regular visitor there as he prepares for the next mega fight which comes along.

“I am enjoying the amateurs just now, learning my trade,” said Lazzerini. “But I will maybe look to turn professional after the Olympics if I can get myself there first and perform well.

“I don’t know what is next for me right now. But I will be going back down to Sheffield next week with the rest of the GB team, going back to the drawing board and finding out what is next. I am just looking forward to the next competition. Lots of pros come into the gym down there, lots of the big fighters you see on TV. AJ comes into train, particularly when he has a big fight coming up. I have spoken to him a few times, he is a nice guy, it is nice to see that even though he is such a big star, he hasn’t let it get to his head. He is a good role model for me and the other boxers.

“The Gold Coast was obviously a hard one to take for me but that is sport, it wasn’t to be. I felt like it was a close fight but it is what it is. Vicky did so well out in Russia too - she is a great boxer who is doing well for herself. It is good to see her doing well for ladies boxing in Scotland.”