Boxer Nathaniel aiming to follow Flynn and become Commonwealth champion

Nathaniel (front centre) with the Scotland squad during a recent training trip to the Kingdom Boxing Club in Kirkcaldy. (pic: Walter Neilson)

Stepps fighter Nathaniel Collins has targeted following in the footsteps of Charlie Flynn by striking gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The 21-year-old former Bearsden Academy pupil is part of the Scotland squad heading to the Gold Coast in March.

And while he is aware that the competition will be tough, he sees no reason not to set his sights high.

He admitted: “I just want to go out and win gold, that’s all I’ve really thought about.

“There’s a lot of competition for everybody in the team from the Home Nations; England, Wales and Ireland have all got strong teams and we’re quite familiar with the boys we’ll come up against.

“I know that Australia’s fighter is good as well and there’s a lot of competition with India and they’re trying to promote a lot of the African countries, so I think they will be harder to beat at this tournament.

“But it’s too big a platform to put yourself on and go out there and not do anything.”

Nathaniel is happy with the way his preparations are going, with a week-long training programme at the British boxing headquarters in Sheffield being followed by a trip to the Ukraine in February.

He said: “I’m training full-time now so it’s going great.

“The Games start in April but we’re flying out on March 15 for a two-week camp to get ourselves acclimatised to the heat.

“It will difficult trying to adjust, particularly with the journey and jet lag and the time difference and get over the tiredness.”

Nathaniel fights in the same lightweight category as Flynn - but he’s not the only member of his family with a connection to the 2014 gold medallist.

His older cousin Ryan Collins was a former Scottish and British champion who went on to turn pro - and is the only fighter to so far avoid defeat against Flynn, the two drawing a Celtic title fight last year.

Nathaniel said: “It’s funny. I am Charlie Flynn’s weight and he’s gone pro and fought my big cousin at the last fight there and now I’m going to go to the Commonwealth Games at the same weight as him.

“I started when I was 14. I went to watch Ryan a few times and thought I’d try it.

“But just when I started to get quite good, in 2015 I had a car crash which put me out for a year.

“Both my knees were injured and I didn’t think I was going to box again. I was away working and fell away from boxing. But when I came back something sparked again and I thought “I need to take this seriously”.

“That was about the middle of 2016 and I went on from there to have two fights for Scotland and go abroad.

“Then I fought for Scotland at the start of January and went on to win the Scottish in my first year as a senior.

“I hadn’t really done much and kind of just came on. Everyone else who got picked for the Commonwealth Games team, they were seeded number one or two at their weight in the Scottish so they were expected to win.

“At my weight I was the only person unseeded out of the whole team. I put out the number one seed right away in the Scottish championships and then went on to win it.

“I had the most fights as well in the Scottish Championships - I had four fights while everyone else had two or three.

“It felt amazing to be selected. I’d really worked hard for it and had earned it. Everyone kind of had their spot and had been in the team in the past, whereas I had just come on and cemented my position and have had to work for it.”

By devoting himself to training full-time, financial support is a major factor for Nathaniel.

And while a Crowdfunding page recently attracted some support, he is still looking for sponsors and can be contacted at nathaniel.collins@hotmail.com

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