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Paris 2024: Boxing twins bid farewell to Olympic dream

Ioan and Garan Croft, the formidable boxing twins from Crymych, have reluctantly diverted their Olympic aspirations after being overlooked by GB Boxing selectors. The duo, aged 22, made the difficult decision to exit the GB training camp in Sheffield following what they perceive as a snub in favour of an English counterpart for an upcoming qualifier in Italy ahead of the Paris Games.

With gold and bronze victories at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham under their belts, Ioan and Garan have now opted to pursue the professional circuit. Their departure from GB Boxing’s Sheffield base, where they had spent two years on the podium squad, was triggered by the selection of Lewis Richardson from Essex for the imminent Olympic qualifier, with Garan relegated to reserve status.

Expressing their disappointment, Ioan highlighted the lack of clarity surrounding their exclusion, stating, “All we’ve ever had are excuses.” He underscored their considerable achievements, stating, “Garan and I have won six major medals at Commonwealth and European level between us which I would have thought was massive.”

Meanwhile, Garan refuted claims of inactivity, asserting, “I’ve actually had seven bouts since mid-October,” adding, “I’ve been one of the most active members of the squad, if anything.” Both twins expressed their bewilderment and sense of betrayal over the decision.

Despite their setback, the Croft twins have long established themselves as Wales’ premier amateur pugilists. Ioan acknowledged the closure of their Olympic chapter, remarking, “Hand on heart, I can honestly say that I could not have done anything more to win an Olympic place.”

Their father, Guy Croft, who introduced them to boxing at the age of eight, remains a steadfast source of support. Reflecting on their departure from GB Boxing, Ioan noted, “Dad is gutted about what’s happened – I think he’s actually more upset about it than we are.”

Looking ahead, the twins eagerly anticipate their transition to the professional arena, with aspirations of emulating the success of Welsh boxing icon Joe Cordina. Garan expressed his dream of fighting for a title at Swansea.com Stadium, a prospect that excites the lifelong Swansea City enthusiasts.

Mike Lewis, chairman of Cardigan ABC, lamented the missed opportunity for the twins to cap off their illustrious amateur careers with an Olympic appearance. Drawing parallels to past disappointments, he recalled the near-miss of Chris Lawson in 1976, underscoring the gravity of the situation.

In response to queries regarding the twins’ omission, a spokesperson for GB Boxing emphasised the rigorous selection process, stating, “These decisions are not taken lightly.” They maintained that the selection panel acted in the best interests of GB Boxing, prioritising boxers deemed most likely to secure qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

As Ioan and Garan Croft embark on the next phase of their boxing journey, their resilience and determination serve as a testament to their indomitable spirit. Though their Olympic dream may be deferred, their resolve remains unwavering as they forge ahead into the realm of professional boxing.

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