A TEENAGE Oxford United fan has his eyes set on the Olympics after claiming his third national title at the weekend.

Morris James, 15, was victorious at the England Boxing National Junior Championships, in the male junior Under-70kg category.

The Wheatley Park School pupil, who trains at Blackbird Leys ABC, fought his way past Bernie McDonagh (Laisterdyke ABC, Bradford) in the semi-final.

That set up a final against Jake Blant (Newark ABC), who forced James to the ropes early on, however the Oxfordshire teen recovered to win a closely fought first round, before dominating the next two.

He was awarded a unanimous decision, and has now been selected to box for England at June’s GB Three Nations.

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James’ dad, Greg, told this newspaper: “It was an incredibly well-organised event, and a long day for Morris who got there at half eight in the morning.

“There was a lot of waiting around and dealing with nerves, and it was a bit exhausting, but an incredible event.

“I was ecstatic when he won. It was a culmination of things, as he’s been training for this moment since he was eight, and the win opens up doors and pathways, and the chance to represent England.

“He boxes six times a week, and has done for years, and he takes his school work with him.

“Boxing helps him in school, as it teaches him self-discipline and putting in a big effort.

“Morris is well-balanced and controls himself well. He’s very contained, and when he loses, he’s very respectful, but when he wins, he doesn’t rub it in. He’s very reserved.”


With the short-term target winning this summer’s GB Three Nations, the long-term aim remains boxing at the Olympics, as Morris’ dad explained.

He said: “He’ll be representing England in the Three Nations, and there’s a possibility he’ll get to European championships this summer.

“He’s in front of the people he needs to be in front of, and has a good chance of winning the Three Nations.

“His goal is the Olympics, he wants to box at the Olympics. It’s been a serious target for the last two years.

“It’s becoming more than a dream now, and is a possibility. Boxing can be humbling because you don’t always win, and that teaches him a huge life lesson. It’s lovely to see him maturing as he goes through this process.

“We’ve got an amazing relationship, and we’re so close. Boxing has brought us closer together, and I feel his ups and downs.”

He added: “Blackbird Leys have been phenomenal. It’s such a good club and has such a diverse membership.

“There’s no hierarchy and everyone helps each other. It’s an inclusive club and such an asset to the community, and something we should be proud of.

“The club has really helped Morris and has some great mentors for him.”