ON TOP OF THE WORLD!

World champion Pat McCormack and silver medallist Isaac MacLeod
World champion Pat McCormack and silver medallist Isaac MacLeod
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GOLDEN BOY Pat McCormack is champion of the World!

And there was a silver lining for British team-mate Isaac MacLeod at the World Junior Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan.

Pat struck gold and Issac took silver as part of an all-North East quartet of boxers representing Great Britain in the week-long championships in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana.

And the medal haul crowns a glittering season for the two 16-year-olds in which both have also won British titles and European titles.

Both fighters had already been marked down as potential medal prospects in the 2016 Olympics before travelling to the Worlds, and their success in the former Soviet state can only enhance already burgeoning reputations.

Pat, of Teal Farm, Washington, became the North East’s first ever World amateur boxing champion when he beat Indian star Naveen Kumar eight points to four in the final.

The teenager, who never lost a single round in the competition, said: “That was my most difficult fight but I didn’t feel worried at any stage.

“I just felt comfortable all the way through, and it’s brilliant to have come away with a gold.”

Sunderland ABC fighter MacLeod was equally as impressive on his way through to the final but couldn’t manage to get past his last opponent – Russian number one Magomedov Tamerlan.

Ford Estate’s Isaac told the Echo: “I’m pleased to have got to the final but I still feel a little disappointed not to have won.

“It was a difficult fight because the Russian wasn’t a big lad and he had a crouched stance which made it hard to get past his defence.

“But the whole thing was a great experience and I think I’ve learned a lot from it.”

The region’s other two representatives were Pat’s twin brother Luke and Callum French – both of Birtley Boxing Club.

Callum lost by a single point to Turkey’s Onat Cengiz in the opening bout of the competition, while Luke saw off the challenge of Slovakian Viliam Tanko to reach the last 16 before being outpointed.

To have all four of Great Britain’s 16-year-old boxers coming from the North East though was a great achievement for the region and a credit not only to the dedication of the boxers themselves but also the coaching work done by Birtley and Sunderland ABC.