A golden Games performance to inspire the next generation of boxers

Kirkcaldy's Mike Keane provides water to Charlie Flynn during the gold medal bout at Glasgow 2014. Pic: Lisa Ferguson
Kirkcaldy's Mike Keane provides water to Charlie Flynn during the gold medal bout at Glasgow 2014. Pic: Lisa Ferguson

Kirkcaldy boxing coach Mike Keane helped guide Team Scotland to medal glory at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow last week.

Boxing Scotland’s two golds and two bronze medals represented the nations’ best result at a Games since 1962.

And the man responsible for training and preparing the fighters for the tournament has been left over the moon with the outcome.

“I’m told it’s one of our best ever Games performances,” said national head coach Keane.

“The time involved has been immense and I’m delighted that all the hard work has paid off.

“Hopefully it should ensure that we’re well funded for the next Games in Australia.

“I’ve not got over this one yet, but preparation for 2018 starts now.”

Scotland’s two golds were won by Josh Taylor in the light-welterweight division and Charlie Flynn in the lightweight section.

Bronze medals went to Reece McFadden and Stephen Lavelle in flyweight and heavyweight respectively.

Keane (54) believes the backing of the home crowd helped his boxers deliver their awe-inspiring performances.

“I’ve been to tournaments all around the world and never experienced a noise like it,” he said.

“It makes a big difference having a home crowd 100 per cent behind you like that.

“We had a number of personal best performances at the Games - whether they won or lost - and the crowd played a part in that.

“The highlight was the gold medals closely followed by Reece beating the world number one and two.

“He deserved a gold medal. I actually thought he won his semi-final - not by a mile - but I thought he’d done enough.

“I shouldn’t be dwelling on that though because at the end of the day we’ve had a fantastic Games.”

Keane is hopeful that the Glasgow Games have inspired a future generation of boxers.

“I’m certain that it’s going to numbers on the doors of boxing clubs,” he said.

“If people aren’t inspired by these performances then we’ve had it!”

He is particularly keen to see an influx of boxers into his own club, the Kirkcaldy-based Kingdom Boxing Club.

“I’d love someone from Fife or my own club to be involved in the next Games,” he said.

“We’re recruiting now and whether we manage to or not, we’ll be trying to get our boys ready for the Gold Coast in 2018.

“Four years is enough time to get youths or seniors ready for that. It’s a fantastic opporunity for someone.”

Keane has big plans for the Gallatown club, which he hopes to turn into a full-time facility.

“I’ve had positive feedback from Sportscotland about funding so hopefully we can start work on it soon,” he said.

“Kirkcaldy as a whole would benefit from having a full-time boxing gym.”

Keane is now turning his attention onto preparing a team of boxers for the forthcoming European Championships.

“We’ve got a very good crop of youth and juniors at the moment so things are looking good if we keep hold of them,” he added.