Ogogo prepares for last Olympics shot
It has been a 'heartbreaking' couple of weeks for Lowestoft's aspiring Olympian Anthony Ogogo.
But after having his dreams of reaching next year's Games in London twice wrenched away from him in quick succession, the Nirvana ABC boxer is now setting his sights on competing at the European Championships next April.
In a whirlwind few days, the 22-year-old has returned from the World Boxing Championships in Baku to have an operation on his right shoulder – and is now on the road to recovery back at home in Lowestoft as he battles to be fit in time for next year's final Olympic qualifier.
Admitting it has been a mixture of emotions, the Team GB middleweight said: 'It has been quite a traumatic time. My shoulder was an absolute mess – much worse than the surgeon first thought it would be.
'It was completely torn and there was lots of cartilage floating around. The bone had been damaged to the extent they wanted me to have another operation to fix the bone but that would've ruled me out for a year.
'The surgeon couldn't believe I had been able to maintain that level of competitive action – and so that was quite good as I'd beaten arguably the best boxer in the world (Russian Artem Chebotarev) with a shoulder that was probably only 60-70pc fit.'
After going into the worlds with the shoulder injury, Ogogo was further hampered by the draw in Baku – which meant that he spent a week-and-a-half kicking his heels in frustration, before facing three bouts in four days.
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'There was no time to rest and after the best performance of my life (in beating the Russian) I punched the air as my arm was raised in victory – but I immediately felt pain all down my right arm,' Ogogo added. 'I could not even lift the vest off my body (after the bout) as my shoulder was so sore.'
After beating European champion Chebotarev – who hadn't lost an international bout since 2009 – Ogogo was just nine minutes away from securing his dream ticket to the Olympics.
'I've no doubt I would've beaten the Brazilian comfortably (had I been fit) then I'd have qualified (for next year's Olympics after reaching the quarter finals) and I could then come home to have the operation,' he admitted.
But despite 'gritting his teeth' throughout the bout against Esquiva Falcao Florentino, he was unable to progress any further.
The Brazilian was then just nine minutes away from reaching the final – and triggering Ogogo's automatic qualification – but he lost to Japan's Ryota Murata, meaning Ogogo must now look to the European Championships in Turkey next April to qualify.