Scotland’s reputation in amateur boxing continues to rise, and the performances of Mark McKeown have certainly contributed. The Bantamweight boxer picked up a bronze medal in the European Youth Championships in Dublin; adding to his bronze won at the GB Championships and a silver from the Mostar tournament in Bosnia earlier this year.
Mark overcame some strong opposition through the rounds in Dublin, showing some great determination and skill. His first bout against AIBA World Championship Silver Medallist, Aleko Tchadashvili finished 20-11; an impressive start for the Coatbridge based fighter. Solid performances saw him proceed to the quarter final stage, where he narrowly lost out to eventual winner Radzhad Butaev (Russia) 13-10.
“It’s been a really great season for me”, says McKeown. “Dublin was obviously the highlight though. I thought I fought really well, and I beat the number two in the world which is a great achievement. I was disappointed not to get to the final but I know I fought my best so I am happy.”
Mark’s fantastic performance in Dublin has seen him named as the Commonwealth Games Scotland Athlete of the Month for August, jointly with discus thrower Nicholas Percy. Both athletes will receive £250 from Commonwealth Games Scotland towards training and competition costs.
Congratulating the August winners, Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland said: “The Commonwealth Youth Games will help to develop our young athletes and I have every confidence that we have picked the best team possible for the Isle of Man Games. Some of these athletes will make the step up to the full Games in 2014, but I have no doubt that everyone will make the most of this opportunity. I would like to congratulate both Mark and Nicholas for their achievements over the past month, and I hope to see them repeat their success during the Games.”
Mark has shown over the past months, why he is worthy of a place in the Isle of Man team, but he’s keeping his focus on the Games competition. “I can’t wait for the Youth Games”, he said. “I’m going to be gunning for the gold there that’s for sure. We’ve already had a tournament in the competition venue, and I beat the GB champion. It’s an amazing venue and I’m really looking forward to going back.”
Mark is one of five boxers selected to represent Youth Team Scotland in the Isle of Man. He is joined by Rhys Pagan, Charlie Flynn, Grant Quigley and Kieran Smith. The team will depart for the Isle of Man on Tuesday 6th September, with competition getting underway on Thursday 8th.