GWENT’S Rosie Eccles and Lauren Price will be eager to impress at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships as qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games gets ever closer, writes David Williams.

Eccles goes into the event in Siberia fresh from winning European Championships bronze – that was a tournament Pontypool ABC and GB Boxing stablemate Price missed to prepare for Russia.

Caldicot welterweight Eccles endured a “nightmare” on her Worlds debut last November, falling at the first hurdle after defeat to Canada’s Myriam Da Silva Rondeau.

However, she is now in a “much better place”, thanks largely to her victory over England’s Sandy Ryan at the Europeans this summer.

Eccles and Ryan are going head-to-head in the race for Tokyo 2020, with whoever is selected for the first Olympic qualifier next spring in pole position to make the British team.

Looking ahead to the Worlds, which start tomorrow in the Russian city of Ulan-Ude, Eccles said: “It’s the last major before the Olympic qualifiers, so I know I have to perform.

“I’m in a much better place than I was going into last year’s Worlds, they were an utter disaster.

“It was a nightmare. I didn’t perform, it was terrible. Everything that could have gone wrong did, but I should have prepared better.”

As for Price, she has picked up a medal at her last four majors.

Commonwealth Games glory was followed by European and world bronze medals, before European Games gold in June saw her rise to world number three.

Price said: “Winning the European Games was a really big achievement, particularly as I defeated the boxer that had beaten me in the World Championships semi-final last year.

“I took a lot of confidence from that win and I am now looking to take that into this year’s World Championships.

“Not going to the European Championships has given me a good break and a chance to work on a few things in the gym.

“I am ready to go again now and looking forward to getting back in the ring and putting in a strong performance ahead of the Olympic qualifying campaign.”

The Welsh pair are joined in Russia by fellow GB Boxing squad members Karris Artingstall, Demi-Jade Resztan, Sandy Ryan, Paige Murney and Tori Ellis Willetts. The action finishes on October 13.