Tuesday 20 March 2018

Myers aiming for Olympics

Jessica Farry

Fresh from his medal winning exploits in Turkey, Jordan Myers already has his sights set on his next challenge.

The Sligo City Boxing Club member won bronze at the European Youth Championships in Antalya two weeks ago, having suffered defeat in the 75kg semi-final at the hands of last year's European schoolboy champion Russia's Danile Teterev.

There's no time for rest, though, as preparations are already in full flow for the National Senior Championships - where Jordan will come up against boxers who are much older than him.

It doesn't phase the 18-year-old, though, who knows that this is a vital step-up for him as he aims to work towards qualifying for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

"I feel very good. It was a good competition, I had four good fights and I got a medal at the end of it. That was my goal going there to get a medal and leave it all in the ring. I wanted to change the colour but I gave it my all and that's the main thing," Myers told The Sligo Champion.

"I was basically fighting every two days so it's non-stop really," he added.

Jordan's Dad, Thomas, is his coach, and travels the country and continent with the youngster to ensure he is competing constantly.

"He lost out to the eventual gold medallist. The lad who beat him in the semi-final went on to win. The lad who he boxed was European champion from last year. He would have been number 1 seed going into it. It was a tough bout. There wasn't much between both lads. In the lead up to that he boxed a good Bulgarian boxer, and he boxed an Israelian and a Serbian."

The lead up to a competition means Jordan undergoes an intense training regime in the weeks building up to the event. Prior to Turkey, he was training three times a day for six weeks, and spent ten days at a training camp in Belfast.

"It was a lot of hard work," Jordan concedes. Thomas added: "He had to watch his diet as well. It's hard when you're training and you have to watch what you're eating. Jordan won the European gold medal in Dublin in 2013 so his credentials are very good. He boxed at the European Championships last year and he got beaten by the eventual gold medallist as well. He was knocking on the door for the last number of years."

Moving up the ranks, he will now have to box without a head-guard. A big change, but again, Jordan knows it's one step on the road to achieving his dreams.

"He was boxing against people under 18 but now at these Championships it will be people aged up to 35 years but these are steps you have to take along the way to achieving your goals. We'd be looking at an Olympic spot down the line," said Thomas.

Jordan continued: "It's all build up to 2020 really. That's the plan."

Thomas paid tribute to his son's hard work, that has seen him win numerous national accolades, along with a European gold in 2013.

"He has ten national titles since he was 11. That's at the very top. He trains very hard, he's very dedicated which he has to be, and you have to be in any sport. To be a top boxer you have to be putting in the boxer."

Sponsorship is vital to Jordan's career. Without it, he would be unable to cover the costs of travel for competitions both at home and abroad.

Jordan is full-time boxing, and with no time to do anything else, funding needs to be sought to cover his costs.

"He gets a lot of support from the town, we'd like to thank anybody who has sponsored Jordan in the last couple of years and this year, any help that they've given us, it goes a long way to giving us helping with costs and whatever else," Thomas said.

He added: "You're travelling a lot, he might have to go to Dublin or Belfast tomorrow night. If he gets a call he has to be there. That's where the sponsorship comes in handy.

"We got a few sponsors around town for this tournament alone. We got a few sponsors helping towards buying gear and so on and so forth," he added.

"They really helped me out in going to Turkey," said Jordan.

Without the help and support of the community and sponsor, Jordan's boxing goals would see much further away.

"We'd like to thank them all for that. Indeed, we'd also like to thank Sligo Sport and Recreation, Cranmore Co-op and Tina the caretaker at Abbey Quarter and all the staff. They've been great to us, opening up at times that we shouldn't be there. They're very good in that sense."

For Jordan, a typical day in the run up to competitions means training around 6.30am, 1/2pm and again in the evening,

"I left school, it's full-time boxing. I just want to be a boxer and be at the top, I guess you have to train hard," he admits.

As for his inspirations, Jordan cites Mike Tyson as one of his favourite boxers, but he looks up to some of the Irish lads too.

"I love Mike Tyson. There's a few of the lads in Dublin as well like Kenneth Egan."

The pair are realistic, though, and know that if Jordan cannot qualify for the 2022.

"They were in the position he wants to get to. Look at the goals, he wants to reach those goals. That's our main goal, try and get him qualified for the 2020 Olympics and if that doesn't work out then he's still young enough, he could be there four years later.

He added: "We'd like to thank all the neighbouring clubs for sparring with us, Stephen Reynolds in Ballinacarrow and John Gilligan in Manorhamilton. There's not that many clubs in our areas so we try to help each other out as much as possible."

Having boxed since the tender age of seven, it's all Jordan knows, and it's all that he wants to do.

"I'm his coach and our main goal would be to take kids off the street and get their head focused around any sport and take them away from any of the bad elements of life

"It keeps your head right. There's a lot of bad habits out there that fellas his age could veer on to very fast so that's our main goal, put them along the right path. Every sport is the same."

Jordan agrees with his father's sentiments: "It keeps you busy. It's getting you out of the house."

Sligo Champion