Gold Coast boxer Collins out to make it two in a row for Scotland

Nathaniel Collins with one of his sparring partners in Australia as he prepares for the Commonwealth Games with Team Scotland
Nathaniel Collins with one of his sparring partners in Australia as he prepares for the Commonwealth Games with Team Scotland

Stepps fighter Nathaniel Collins reckons he’s as ready as he’ll ever be to follow Charlie Flynn as Commonwealth Games champion.

Collins has already been in Australia for a couple of weeks putting the finishing touches to his preparations for the Games which begin next week.

Charlie Flynn won gold for Scotland in Glasgow four years ago

Charlie Flynn won gold for Scotland in Glasgow four years ago

The 21-year-old fights in the same 60kg division as Flynn memorably won his gold in Glasgow four years ago - and would love to make it two in a row for Scotland.

Before leaving for Australia he had a chat with Flynn about his Games preparations and what to expect once the Games get under way.

And as that gets ever nearer he can’t wait to get his glory bid up and running.

Speaking to us from his pre-Games camp in Australia Nathaniel said: “Preparations are going well out here. We’ve been in the sunshine coast preparing since March 17 and the heat has been like nothing else I’ve experienced, but I’m just starting to get a bit more used to it now.

“I started sparring last week and again it’s been difficult in the heat but fitness and determination has been taking me through feel like I’m at that next level.

“We head down to the athletes village on the Gold Coast on Saturday and then we do our final bit of sharpening up.

“The opening ceremony is on April 4 and the fighting begins on the fifth. I am scheduled to fight on the first day and I am more than ready for whoever I will be facing.”

But while the whole experience may be new to Nathaniel, it’s familiar ground for Flynn - even if he can scarcely believe it’s four years since he thrilled a nation at the SECC Hydro.

The likeable Newarthill fighter reckons focus is key to Nathaniel’s hopes of striking gold on the Gold Coast.

He said: “I was speaking to him in the build-up to my last fight, before he left for Australia

“The preparation and sparring seemed to have been going well.

“I don’t know who’s in his weight or what kind of competition he’ll be up against, but no doubt they’ll be good, especially the Australian team. They are always strong.

“The most important thing is just to take it one fight at a time. Just look at whoever’s right in front of you and what you need to do to win and just make you’re on your weight.

“Don’t get carried away in the village with different things - just keep the head down and remember you’re there to do a job. Anything else comes after the fight, after the competition.”

After 2014 Flynn turned pro and while he has had a series of injury setbacks he still remains unbeaten with 10 wins and two draws.

Ironically the two draws were both against Ryan Collins, older cousin of Nathaniel.

Flynn said: “It doesn’t feel like four years ago, it just feels as though someone has pressed fast forward.

“It’s been unbelievably fast the way everything has worked out.

“I’ve had quite a lot of setbacks but you just need to take the good with the bad. I think a lot of other people would only have been able to take so many hits, injuries and different things. It’s been a tough time but you get there eventually.”