EIGHT men from the GB Boxing squad have been selected to compete at the 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, (26 October – 6 November 2021), including Bradford star Harris Akbar

It is an opportunity for a new generation of boxers to showcase their talent at a major tournament as the seven men that competed at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were not considered for selection.

The team will compete across the new weight classes (recently introduced by AIBA) and includes a mix of experienced boxers and some more recent additions to GB Boxing’s Podium squad.

Akbar has been part of GB Boxing’s Podium squad for more than four years and travelled to Tokyo 2020 as a sparring partner to help prepare the boxers that competed for Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games.And the And the Bradford boxer admitted he would like to target gold in Serbia

He said: "Obviously, there is a good chance of me getting a medal, but that's not what I'm aiming for.

"I have to aim for gold and I would like to expect that from myself.

"I have put in a lot of work in and sparred with some great athletes, so it gives you such a confidence boost when heading into a competition of this magnitude.

"With the confidence side, I am very confident going in to this because of all the preparation I've put in, along with the people I've been sparring in the lead up to it."

Akbar added: "I feel so grateful to have been picked for these championships and more importantly, this is my first major as a senior competitor, and right now I just can't wait to get out there and show everyone how skilled I am and how good I can box.

"The work has been extremely hard in the lead up to to it and I just need to make sure it's worth it.

"I've put so many hours in, whether it has been running, pad work and weight lifting and I've put too much effort in to go there and not show my best work.

"I'm excited more than anything and I can't wait to fight there."

Akbar added: "Training is obviously physically draining, but people don't realise how much it affects you mentally.

"The hardest part of it is the dieting, the stretching and the structured routine, which includes waking up and going to bed at a certain time.

"I think I've got the mental side of it down to a tee this time, so it's just of matter of performing now and showing my worth."

With proving his worth, Akbar hopes it might set him up further down the line for future competitions and events.

He said: "I would really like to show Rob McCracken how good I am and if I do that, then hopefully I will get picked for more major tournaments.

"I think getting the medals will definitely prove my worth, but to put on a top performance would be the best thing for me to do.

"I want to show everyone I'm really good and that I deserve to be at this level."