Photo gallery: Lowestoft’s Anthony Ogogo owes Olympic effort to friends and family
Lowestoft fighter Anthony Ogogo hopes his opening London Olympics win paid back his friends and family for their ongoing support – as well as giving his ill mother a boost.
Things have been far from straight forward for Ogogo in his build-up to competing in London, with mum Teresa currently recovering from a brain haemorrhage at Gorleston's James Paget Hospital – where she was joined on Saturday morning by Ogogo's sister Lee-Anne, who went into early labour.
Fortunately Ogogo's middleweight 75kg division opener was a simpler affair on Saturday afternoon as the Brit, backed by an exuberant home crowd, proved too strong for Dominican Republic's Junior Castillo Martinez – taking a 13-6 win and booking his place in the last 16 at Excel Arena.
'I was a bit tense after the opening round, performing in front of the crowd,' said Ogogo. 'It was a bit nerve-wracking, but I eventually settled down and got into my rhythm and let my shots go, and I'm just glad I got the win.
'The support was amazing. I can't thank my family and friends enough and just the rest of the people in the crowd supporting me; it's unbelievable with a crowd where everyone wants you to win.
'I was walking into the ring and just thought 'lip, don't quiver, don't quiver'.
'I've just had so much help from my friends and my family and my girlfriend, they are the ones who really got me through.
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'There was a stage when I didn't think I was going to be boxing at the Olympic Games because I just didn't see the point with all that was going on at home. But my sisters ordered me back to training to get back with the squad, and the team have been really good with me as well, and they've given me time off to go and see certain members of my family.
'So I've just worked so hard and focused on the goal, because this was my dream. Things have put into perspective what's important in life, but this is just testament to my family and friends who have got me here and hopefully I will do them even more proud and make my mum proud by winning a medal.
'Hopefully I've given my mum a boost and it helps with her recovery, but for what she's doing and what she has been through and how well she has done, I'm so proud of her. Within the model of the Olympic Games, there is nothing that compares.'
Ogogo was the first Brit to take to the boxing ring at the London Games – and he took to a packed arena that rose to its feet for his spine-tingling entrance. And the Lowestoft ABC hero let nobody down once he got in the ring. While Martinez prodded and probed, Ogogo's defence was tight in a 3-2 opener before stepping through the gears to dominate in the second round 5-1.
Martinez had to go for broke in the third, but in truth the job had already been done as Ogogo prospered 5-3 for a 13-6 victory.
Ogogo now faces Ukranian number one seed Ievgen Khytrov in an intimidating last-16 encounter on Thursday.