Gwent boxer Rosie Eccles is aiming to turn silver into gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Caldicot’s Eccles won silver for Wales at the last Commonwealths in the Gold Coast and wants to go one better this time around to say thank you to everyone who helped her recover from a mystery virus which attacked nerves in her arms and neck.

And she will have a very special person in mind, the coach who has been her trainer, friend and mentor since she joined Chepstow ABC as a 15-year-old, Doug Lewis.

“Doug is very special to me and as he has not been well recently, I really want to give him a boost,” she said during a brief rest from her preparation.

“We are always in touch by phone and he always tells me ‘I’m on your shoulder’ before every bout and it inspires me.”

Despite losing a complete year’s training because of the injury before the pandemic struck, Eccles, who is also affiliated to Pontypool ABC, has come back so well she earned a place on the GB Boxing World Class Performance Programme.

“I’m massively grateful for the help both practically and financially from the programme and Welsh Boxing which gives us top quality training and coaching week in, week out,” added the 26-year-old.

“I was pretty down when there seemed to be no reason and no cure for the injury and I thought it meant the end of my career, but having such world-class support meant a lot and when the cause of the injury was identified I began a very long rehab process so I could start competing again.

“I had 11 fights, winning 10, and I felt much better, especially as I beat four Olympians in those fights and even the Russian who beat me in the Olympic qualifier.

“I also have amazing family and friends who helped me stay positive and Doug would come from his home in Newport on Sunday mornings to coach me at Chepstow ABC – all priceless things that I would like to say a big thank you for by winning a gold medal.

“Boxing is different from most sports, you can play a team game and as a team you can win, lose or draw, but you can’t play boxing – it’s all or nothing.

“And although I’m part of Wales’ boxing team, we are all on our own, no-one can help us win, draw or lose. That’s down to the individual boxer.

“Now it’s a case of waiting for the draws to be made and then I’ll know who stands between me and the gold medal. I’m ready!”