Tokyo 2020 One to Watch – Peter McGrail

Peter McGrail, from Liverpool, started boxing when he was just ten years old, falling in love with the sport when boxing for fun with friends after school. After winning 20 national titles, Peter went onto secure bronze in the Youth Olympics aged 14 and he now has his sights set on gold at Tokyo 2020.

Peter said: “I’ve been in the GB Boxing Podium squad for over three years and am completely focused on going to the Olympics in 2020.

“I get up at 7am, get weighed and I’ll be on the track for about 7.30am for a run before breakfast. I’m back at the gym for about 10am to do some weights and some steps, then I come back and have my dinner – I’ll have some chicken, rice, vegetables or pasta normally, then we have our boxing session at about 3pm or 4pm.”

Peter trains at the English Institute for Sport, Sheffield (EISS) based on Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, with the rest of the boxers in the GB Boxing squad.

“I train with the best boxers from all over the country. We’re all different weights and we all travel to Sheffield Monday to Thursday to train.

“Obviously when you’re in the ring you’re on your own but it’s good to have a team pushing you on when you’re in training. Once you’re sparring against someone and you’ve got your whole team shouting, ‘come on’ it’s exciting and a good morale booster.

“The EISS is not just the home of GB Boxing, there are a lot of other Olympic and Paralympic sports based here and we all train in a building that’s also open to the general public who use the gym, sauna and other facilities too.

“The EISS is not only beneficial for athletes, it’s beneficial for Sheffield as a whole. It’s a brilliant facility which is really good for the city.

“The most difficult thing about being a boxer is making weight and constantly having to monitor your diet and think about what you eat. Everything else I love, I love tapering – it’s just the diet. But you have got to make sacrifices if you want to get somewhere in life.

“Obviously before the Olympics, training will probably be cranked up a bit, there might be a few countries coming in so hopefully we’ll be able to do some top-quality sparring”.

Knowing that he has the nations support has helped Peter maintain his drive:

“It’s really good for the whole city and country to be involved and to know they’re watching, it really does push you onwards when you’re feeling tired.

“If you’ve got a fight the next day and you receive support from others it’s an amazing feeling.

“Being a full-time boxer is hard. I’m really lucky to have had a lot of support all the way along my career from my family, my coach and also some of the people that have backed me along the way such as Maj law, Quadrant and Goodness grill. I’ve got an amazing team around me and I’m so thankful for all the support which has helped me get to where I am today.”