SHE landed a huge blow in her tussle with rival Sandy Ryan for a place at the Olympic Games, but Rosie Eccles knows there is still plenty to be done in the race to make Tokyo 2020.

Eccles and Ryan are locked in a battle to win selection for the first Olympic qualifier next spring, where whoever gets the nod could secure their place on the Team GB plane to Japan.

While Ryan got the better of Caldicot’s Eccles in the 69kg final at last year’s Commonwealth Games, the Welsh boxer knocked her English counterpart out of the recent European Championships.

The two GB Boxing squad members may well meet again at next month’s World Championships in Russia – both lost their opening bouts at the same event last November.

It’s that disappointment and the lure of the Olympics which will serve as motivation for Eccles when she takes on the best in the world in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude from October 3-13.

Reflecting on her points defeat of Ryan in the European quarter-finals in Madrid, Eccles, 23, said: “Some people thought I was unlucky against Sandy in the Commonwealth Games final.

“She didn’t want to engage in the Europeans, which I knew was going to be the case, so it was about cutting the ring off and letting my hands go when in range.

“When they announced the results, I thought I was in the red corner, so when they said the blue corner was the winner I thought, ‘it’s happened to me again’.”

She continued: “Only one of us can go to the Olympic qualifying event, and we don’t have a box-off to decide it, that’s not in our contracts.

“There are only one or two occasions where we could meet so I saw it as trying to prove myself in a massive pressure situation.

“Winning in Spain was a big statement, but nothing has been settled yet.

“There’s still six months to go until the qualifiers and so I’m not getting ahead of myself.”

Eccles had to make do with a bronze in Madrid after a controversial points loss to Italian Angela Carini in the semi-finals.

“I went back to the changing room and couldn’t speak,” she said. “I don’t think I said a word for 45 minutes, which for me is unheard of. I didn’t know what to say.”

As well as her GB Boxing coaches, Eccles would like to thank Doug Lewis, her coach when she was at Chepstow ABC, and Mark James and Lyndon James at current club Pontypool ABC.