Washington’s McCormack twins target European gold double

Pat McCormack (left), Luke McCormack (middle) and Calum French are all smiles ahead of their European Championship challenge.
Pat McCormack (left), Luke McCormack (middle) and Calum French are all smiles ahead of their European Championship challenge.
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Pat McCormack hopes Washington’s fighting twins can “make history” by striking double gold at the European Championships.

Luke and Pat, who celebrated their 22nd birthdays yesterday, have been named in GB Boxing’s team for the event in Ukraine, from June 16-24.

It is the first major tournament since the 2016 Olympics in Rio, where Pat reached the last 16 before losing a close decision to crack Cuban star Yasnier Toledo.

Pat is unbeaten this season, as is Luke, who won the light-welterweight gold for GB at the Under 22 European Championships in Romania.

But there is one major first for the Wearside duo – it will be their opening international tournament together.

So what are their chances like?

“Very good,” said Pat, who will be Britain’s welterweight in Kharkiv. “We’ll box a lot better when we’re together.

“This is the first tournament we’ve been together, so we’re looking to make history.”

And Luke says the McCormacks will inspire each other, even if he fears some ‘needle’ away from the venue.

“It’s weird that this is in the first tournament we’ve boxed together in six years on the programme,” said the Birtley ABC boxer.

“He does my head in 100% – we’ll be rooming together and we’ll be fighting before we even get to the ring!

“But it’s a great feeling to know we’re there together and can win together.”

To add to the history element is the fact that the McCormacks are part of a Birtley and North East treble, alongside gym-mate Calum French.

French has had a superb year in the WSB Series, the Formula 1 of the amateur fight scene.

The 21-year-old lightweight, from Gateshead, has won all three WSB bouts to help the British Lionhearts to the semi-finals of the competition. “It’s the first time it’s ever happened,” added Pat. “We are putting Birtley ABC on the map.

“Hopefully we’ll all get gold medals.”

The Birtley trio form a third of a nine-strong team heading out to Eastern Ukraine.

GB Boxing performance director Rob McCracken paid tribute to the club and boss Graeme Rutherford, and his coaching team.

“The club just keeps producing,” said McCracken.

“Graeme up there has a winning formula – they produce national champions all the time.

“Obviously there are plenty of clubs up and down the country [who are doing well].

“But Birtley is a club which stands out – the boxers who come from there are very driven and hard-working. There is a fearless approach to their philosophy up there.

“Three at a major is a phenomenal achievement.”