There are few sports that are in more of a mess than amateur boxing is at the moment. From a looming Olympic ban to long-standing concerns about the way the sport’s governing body operates to threats of a breakaway, the sport is in trouble.

But for Reese Lynch, Scotland’s top amateur boxer, there is another issue that is even more pressing and impactful.

Had the world of amateur boxing not been in such disarray, Lynch would have been preparing to embark on his campaign at the World Championships, which begin today in Uzbekistan. Having won a bronze medal at the last World Championships, in November 2021, the light welterweight had every intention of improving on that result this time.

But Lynch will be at home, watching the action from afar.

The reason for his absence, along with his compatriots, is because of a boycott of the tournament by GB. Amateur boxing’s governing body, the International Boxing Association (IBA) will let Russian and Belarusian boxers compete under their countries’ flags at the tournament, a position that GB is uneasy with.

GB also boycotted the women’s World Championships for the same reason, and a number of other countries will also be absent in Uzbekistan due to the IBA’s decision, which goes against the actions of almost every other sporting governing body.

The boycott has left Lynch, who won Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham last summer, conflicted. As a competitive animal, his instincts are that he wants to be there. But he is also well aware of the bigger picture and has been forced to accept the direct impact the global political situation is having on his career.

“I definitely would have been looking to go to the Worlds and upgrade my bronze from last time. But obviously I won’t get that chance now,” the 21-year-old from Fauldhouse says. “It is frustrating but I know I just need to get on with things. Amateur boxing is definitely quite messed up at the moment and the political stuff that’s going on is all pretty confusing.

“GB took this stance and so the boxers need to go along with that because they know what they’re talking about. And I agree with the stance GB has taken.

“It’s hard though because in different circumstances, obviously I’d love to be there fighting. There’s good money on offer this year, too. So when you’ve already won a medal and you know you could get very good money for another one, it makes you want to be there.

“But GB has made its decision and they made that decision for a reason. The boxers were involved in the decision too. We all sat down and talked about it as a group, along with the coaches. We’ve known for quite a while this was what GB was doing so we’ve had time to get our heads round it.”

Lynch has been keeping things low-key since winning Commonwealth gold last August. The six months following the Birmingham Games were occupied with training camps – in Italy, America and Kazakhstan – before his competitive return to the ring last month.

His first tournament was, by his own standards, below par but his second, the Gee Bee tournament in Finland two weeks ago, resulted in a silver medal.

“In my first tournament since Birmingham, I lost in the first round and I felt terrible in that fight. I was definitely ring rusty,” he says. “But then I was much better a few weeks ago in Finland. I still wouldn’t say I’m quite at my best yet though, there’s still more to come.

“Three training camps this year has been a lot. It’s been really good though and so I feel like I’ve had some good training and have made a few good improvements.”

While silverware at international events may be satisfying for Lynch, there is one target that looms large.

The Rob Roy fighter is focused on becoming Scotland’s first boxing Olympian since 2012 when Josh Taylor competed in London but Lynch has his sights set far higher than merely making the British team.

Having reached No.2 in the world rankings at the end of last year, there is little doubt Lynch has what it takes to become Scotland’s first Olympic boxing medallist since Dick McTaggart in 1960.

“The Olympics is already in my head,” he says. “The first qualifier is in June at the European Games so I’m hoping I get sent to that and can qualify for Paris there. It’d be great to get it out the way early.

“I do think about myself winning Olympic gold. I know I can win it if I box at my best. It’s all about small margins at that level though.

“I’d say I perform better at the major competitions. That’s what counts – no one remembers who wins at the smaller tournaments but everyone remembers who wins Olympic gold.”