Anthony Ogogo’s fighting the pain barrier to achieve Olympic dream
HE has been through the wringer in the last three months, but Anthony Ogogo is set to enter the Last Chance Saloon in his bid to represent Great Britain at the Olympics.
Just weeks after struggling to lift a 2kg weight and being in so much pain he was sick following surgery on his right shoulder, the Lowestoft middleweight, 23, is preparing to compete at an Olympic European qualifier in less than eight weeks time.
The 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist will have to win the tournament outright to secure the one coveted European place remaining in the middleweight division and, having missed out on Olympic qualification at the World Championships last October, he is pushing his body to the limit.
“There is one space remaining and there must be four or five guys in the division who will think that final European spot is rightfully theirs, I will just have to make sure it’s mine,” said Ogogo.
“I am confident and I know no one in the competition will want to box me as I will be fresh and at my peak. I beat the Russian (Artem Chebotarev) at the World Championships last October with one good arm and one bad arm.”
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Should Ogogo’s dream come true, then the agony and heartache of the last 12 weeks will pale into insignificance and justify the decision to speed up his recovery.
He underwent the operation to clean out his shoulder on October 14 and was scheduled to be sidelined from bag work until this Monday.
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However Ogogo, who was told the recovery process would take six months, meaning he would miss the final qualifiers, has been back punching for three and a half weeks and hopes to start sparring in the next fortnight.
He was also required to have his arm in a sling for six weeks but that lasted for just four as the boxer began manipulating the muscles and tendons in a desperate attempt to speed up the process.
However, things did not go exactly to plan and the psychological effects of his rehabilitation proved to be just as tough as the physical.
“If it was not the Olympics then I would have taken more time to recover but this is so important to me,” he said.
“I was moving my arm around when I should have been resting it and it was really painful. Trying to get the full range of movement in my arm has been really painful and at times it was so horrible that I was being sick in the back of my throat.
“It also got to me mentally too.
“When the physio first gave me a 2kg dumbbell to lift, which would help extend my arm and help its rotation, it felt like I was lifting a 30kg weight. I had to drop down to a 1kg weight and psychologically that was disheartening.
“How was I going to get in a position to go to the European qualifiers and win the tournament, not just compete?
“I was looking at my right arm in the mirror and I could not believe how skinny it was compared to the left, because it had lost all the muscle. It is not far away from being like the left one now, but things like that are going to get you down.”
His lack of action in the ring may have been a blessing in disguise and his fitness will not be in question.
“I have done a lot more running and cardio work and I have not just been sitting on the settee waiting for my arm to get better,” said Ogogo.
“It gives me time to go back to basics and I have not been having to get fighting fit all the time like some of the other guys.
“I just want to get back in the ring punching people!”