THE sound of bagpipes will be ringing in the ears of South Coast middleweight boxer Mark Lucas, who is on his way to Glasgow for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in July.
Lucas booked his ticket for the Games after he won the recent qualifying tournament in Fremantle, with four fights in five days.
Speaking to the South Coast Register just after returning from Western Australia, Lucas said the achievement hadn’t really sunk in yet, but was feeling more relieved than anything.
Lucas made a statement early on in the tournament with a satisfying victory against 2012 Olympian Jesse Ross in the opening round.
It did not get any easier in round two when he fought defeated last year’s runner-up Roger Grant, which he described as his best performance of the tournament.
This was followed with a win against Stephen Finney and then secured his seat on the plane to Glasgow by defeating Curtis Cooper in the final.
Lucas said he was always confident going into the tournament and focused more on the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents, rather than their reputation.
“For me, it’s easier to fight the big ones first up, because you’re going to have to beat them at some point anyway,” he said.
“Then the next two fights were more awkward than anything, but I just did what I had to.”
Qualifying for Glasgow has been about an 18 month process for Lucas, who has spent a lot of time working with his long-time coach Nudge Mieli and Boxing Australia men’s coach Don Abnett to give him all the experience he needs.
His first international exposure came on a trip to China, but he said fighting in Europe last year played a big part in getting him ready to compete at a higher level.
“It exposes you to a higher level of opponent and being in foreign places, you have to get the mental side of things sorted to perform,” he said.
While Lucas has only officially been working towards Glasgow for the past 18 months, competing at a major event like the Commonwealth Games or the Olympics has been a seven-year process.
“Since I started boxing, that’s what it’s all been about,” he said.
“I have no real aspirations to turn pro, so for me, there’s no greater achievement and I’m just relieved it has come off,” he added.
Lucas is expecting a strong contingent of boxers from England, Northern Ireland and the hosts Scotland at the Games, but won’t be overawed by the prospect of fighting them in front of their home crowd.
“Whether the crowd is booing or cheering you, it’s just something you’ve got to shut out.
“It’s not about being all fired up all the time, it’s about whoever gets the tactics right.”
Lucas is expecting to be doing up to 15 sessions a week in preparation for Glasgow and their training will include visits from the Japanese and Scottish teams.
He had the opportunity to fight against Scotland’s number one Aston Brown when he was in Europe last year and only lost by one point.
He is hoping the chance to train with them before the Games will give him a good idea of where he is at.