Adrian Roach fighting fit as he prepares to compete in CAC Games
Adrian Roach is determined to make up for lost time as he prepares for the first major step towards qualifying for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
Having endured a frustrating time out of the ring with a lingering shoulder injury, which forced him to withdraw from the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Uzbekistan, the 21-year-old has made a return to training in advance of the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador at the end of the month.
While conceding to struggling with the mental aspects of being on the sidelines, Roach admits the enforced break could have been a blessing in disguise.
“It’s definitely been a hard couple of months since my last fight in March,” said Roach, whose recurring issues in both shoulders were made worse by a double dislocation while fighting in a competition in Nassau, Bahamas.
“It was particularly hard watching the World Championships knowing I should have been there competing.
“Even though I knew I had to rest, it was definitely a mental battle at times and because I knew it would be on my mind, I actually went away on vacation as a distraction so that I wouldn’t dwell on it.
“It would have got me down, so being away definitely helped in that respect. It’s funny because I came back with a new mindset and a determination to come back stronger.
“I’m feeling good again and the doctors and physiotherapist are really happy with the shoulders and there are no problems.
“The time away really helped with the recovery and since being back, I’ve returned to full training and I’m feeling stronger than before with a full range of motion.
“Being forced out injured only made me more determined and people are saying that I’m looking like an animal in training. I guess that’s a bit of frustration coming out; I want to make up for the time I lost and I’m definitely ready to fight again.”
The upcoming Games act as the initial qualifying phase for the pivotal Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, in October and November, which represent Roach’s first opportunity to seal his place in the Olympics next year.
With only three automatic spots up for grabs in each separate weight divisions for the Pan Am Games, Roach is determined to secure his place at the earliest possible opportunity.
“This is the first big step towards qualifying for the Olympic Games and so it’s really where the whole process begins,” said Roach, who will be fighting in the 156lb super-welterweight division.
“This is the main qualifying event for the Pan Am Games and, although there will be another opportunity to qualify in August, I want to at least get one of those podium places and get it done now. That way I’ve booked my place and I don’t have to stress about it.
“When I was out injured, I knew I had to rest because it was for the bigger picture and more important things to come. I’m hoping that I can make up for the time I was out at the CAC Games because that moment will be worth it.
“It’s always incredibly special to represent the country, but for me it’s also a chance to represent my family, my friends and people who I’ve lost; I want to do it for all of them.
“Putting on that jersey is a real honour and I have that extra incentive and motivation to go out there and perform for all of those people who support me.
“Trying to qualify for the Olympics has been in the works for a long time, but now is the opportunity to take that first step and I’m going to take it. I don’t want to waste this chance.”
Having already faced a host of the competitors he could potentially take on in El Salvador, Roach is adamant he has nothing to fear.
“I know no matter how I do, it will be a good experience for my development but I’m full of confidence that I can go out there and win,” he said.
“The guys that I could fight against are good but nothing I haven’t seen before. I beat two of the guys I could face in the Bahamas. I’ve already gained that experience and so there is nothing that will shock me.”