Sweet Ori has already been described as the next Anthony Joshua. The weight of expectation on his shoulders will only grow if he succeeds in his hometown of Birmingham at the Commonwealth Games.
Before becoming a world heavyweight champion and boxing superstar, Joshua Ori, an Olympic gold medalist, inspired him to take up the sport. He has followed in Joshua’s footsteps to become the number one super-heavyweight in the GB program and has set his sights on the 2024 Paris Olympics.
At Birmingham 2022, Ori will have to shake off the pressure of being billed as the next Joshua.
“I was originally inspired by Anthony Joshua. It was something I wanted to be, I wanted to look like that. So I waited for him at all costs. It’s no surprise to me because I’ve worked so hard to be able to. She’s achieved these things,” Ori said. Sky Sports.
“There’s going to be pressure, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like all athletes, top athletes, go through that pressure and that’s what separates them from the rest. It’s being able to handle the pressure and perform at a high level.”
He also intends to continue developing his own style as a boxer
“I’m starting to feel that myself. I’ve been boxing competitively for five to six years now and I feel like I’m building my own style that suits me and I feel like I’m going to compete in GB Boxing all over Europe. It’s helped me a lot,” Ori said.
The tournament begins on Thursday when Nigel Paul of Trinidad and Tobago plays his opening match.
“Nothing changes when we’re in the ring. It’s sticking to the game plan and getting that win,” Ori said. “I stick to the game plan, I do the work and then I respect and put experience first.”
Fluent in Russian, Ori was born in a town near Moscow and moved to Birmingham with his parents as a young child. He is proud to represent England in the Commonwealth Games boxing competition, five minutes away from his university and 20 minutes from his home.
The atmosphere he knows is sure to be electric, especially if he reaches the 92+kg final. “It’s so exciting to be here. Friends and family have no reason not to come,” Ori said.
“A lot of support. Especially in the finals, I know it’s going to be packed. I know there’s not going to be any spots. So it’s definitely going to be a night to remember. But I’m taking it step by step. It’s the last I want to be, but I’m taking it step by step.”
“I like to say that I’m mentally ready for it, but in terms of the crowd and the joy and the support, it’s something I’ve never experienced before.
“I will never forget this moment.”
It will be a long way from boxing in the UK. In the year Boxing for England against Scotland in 2019 was at nearby Cannock, with Nick Campbell, now a professional.
“That was one of our many fights together. I think that was our fourth and last fight and it was the fourth time I beat him. That was the last time I boxed in England. It’s been a long time. A really long time. [the Commonwealths] It could be anywhere in London, not just in England, it could be up north but it’s not here in Birmingham, so it’s really interesting.
“This event is one I will look back on for many, many years.”
He will be favored to win gold in Birmingham but sees the race as “the hardest race and the hardest you put in,” according to Olympic bronze medalist and former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Fraser Clarke.
“He pushes you through camp and leaves no stone unturned in training,” Ori explained. “That’s my mindset on this.”
Clark is his “mentor” for this race.
“Me and Fraser have been talking about this Commonwealth Games, this special Commonwealths before the Olympics,” Ori said.
“He was telling me how much opportunity these games give and how much opportunity they give and I couldn’t be in a better place to be in my hometown.
“I got a lot of advice from Fraze. I’m going to repeat what he did at the Commonwealth Games when he won the gold medal.”
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