Flyweight ace Lisa targets world glory

Lisa Whiteside
Lisa Whiteside
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Preston flyweight Lisa Whiteside is aiming to keep Team GB’s Olympic selectors honest with some standout performances in the coming weeks.

PRESTON flyweight Lisa Whiteside is aiming to keep Team GB’s Olympic selectors honest with some standout performances in the coming weeks.

The 30-year-old star admitted this week that it is looking increasingly unlikely that she will fulfil her dream of competing at this summer’s Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Nicola Adams’ victory in a European Olympic qualifying event in Turkey earlier this month means the London 2012 gold medal winner has all but booked her seat on the plane to Brazil.

With each country only allowed to field one athlete in each weight division in Rio, Adams – who is also the Commonwealth Games champion – looks a certainty to get the nod to compete at 51kg.

And there is no hope of Whiteside achieving qualification in a different weight category as there are only two other classifications – 60kg and 75kg.

Nevertheless, the JR Gym ace is eager to earn Olympic qualification at next month’s World Championships in Kazakhstan and at least force the selectors to officially make a choice between herself and Adams.

In order to qualify, Whiteside – who is a former world silver medal winner – must reach the semi-finals or better.

There is a possibility that the Preston boxer may not even get the opportunity to qualify as Adams may yet be selected at 51kg in Kazakhstan, leaving Whiteside to compete at 54kg.

“I am hoping I can fight at 51kg at the Worlds,” Whiteside said. “I should find out this week – I am not sure yet. It all depends if Nicola is going at 51kg.

“The plan is to qualify, but I am not stupid.

“Nicola has already qualified and if you’re going to choose somebody to box for Great Britain, you’re going to choose the reigning Olympic champion.

“Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for her and will wish her well. She has been great for British and female boxing.

“It’s just a shame that there are only three weight categories at the Olympics and I am in the same category as her.”

Despite all the permutations, Whiteside is focused on producing her best in Kazakhstan – no matter what weight category she will be competing in.

She is hoping to go one better than she did in 2014 when she was narrowly beaten in the world flyweight final by American Marlen Esparza in South Korea.

“The World Championships will be a massive event for me,” she said.

“Hopefully, I can come back with a nice, big shiny medal.”

Before her trip to Kazakhstan, Whiteside is the top seed for this weekend’s National ABA Championships at the Liverpool Arena.

Competing at 51kg, the former policewoman is hoping to become a five-time national champion. It will also mark a year since she suffered a career-threatening injury sustained 
in a freak accident outside of the ring.