GREG BRIDET targeted securing an elite GB berth and vowed: Now is the time.
Heart of Portsmouth’s Olympic hopeful competes in Finland today as part of a squad of eight Great Britain boxers aiming for success at the Tammer Tournament.
Bridet is aiming for heavyweight victory after emerging through a tough period of controversial English Championship defeat and surgery – which dashed his Commonwealth Games hopes.
The 24-year-old has shown resilience to now come to the attention of GB Boxing bosses.
That saw him recently travel to powerhouse nation Kazakhstan for a training camp and go down to a narrow defeat in an international clash against France.
Bridet admitted the trials he faced have tested him but have only increased his resolve.
Now he’s gunning for a Podium squad place, which will put him bang on course to make the Rio Games in 2016.
Bridet said: ‘It’s been a testing time.
‘Losing last year was devastating but now I feel the comeback can be that much more triumphant.
‘I knew I’d won and my opponent knew I’d won – and said that.
‘The Commonwealth Games were three fights away.
‘That would have put me in the limelight and been a big opportunity.
‘That would have upped everything. It was a big spanner in the works.
‘The judges scored the fight, no-one else.
‘They scored it as they saw it. It’s out of my control.
‘What can you do? A loss is a loss and you have to take what you can from it.
‘Then there was the hand getting hurt in that fight.
‘It was like being kicked when you’re down.
‘But you take the positive and discard the negative. You can’t carry baggage with you. It fuelled the fire.
‘I’ve been down but I’ve had losses before. It just sets me up to fight back.
‘After a great setback is a great comeback.
‘If you think about losses how can you win? Now it’s all positive.
‘It’s the longer route. I didn’t see it as the journey stopping. I just saw it as the longer path. I’m still getting to the goal.’
‘Now is the time for me.
‘There’s the worlds and Europeans leading up the Olympics.
‘Rio’s the aim but there are a lot of fights between now and then.
‘I need to cement something now and create a spark which can become something more next year.’
Coming to the attention of GB performance director Rob McCracken, who also trains Carl Froch, has boosted Bridet’s confidence.
And mixing with elite boxers in recent camps and competition has underlined a belief he belongs at the top level.
Bridet said: ‘Rob McCracken saw me box against France with the GB coaches.
‘He said I performed well and it could have gone either way.
‘I didn’t get the decision but I had nothing but good feedback.
‘At no point did anyone say I didn’t box well.
‘That was brilliant going away with the Podium squad members. It’s one of the best countries in the world.
‘Kazakhstan was an amazing experience. They have someone in the top 10 at every weight. It’s ridiculous.
‘There are things now that make me feel I’ve earned being there and deserve to be there.
‘I’m progressing all the time. I’m hungry and have the desire to push.
‘In terms of progression the sky is the limit.’