Welsh boxer Rosie Eccles plans to step out of the shadow of Olympic champion Lauren Price at the Commonwealth Games after recovering from a virus that left her unable to dress herself.
Eccles won Commonwealth silver on the Gold Coast four years ago, but the 25-year-old has since been plagued by bad luck with illness, injury and Olympic heartbreak setting her back before Birmingham 2022.
“It’s been a difficult few years,” said Eccles, known as ‘Right Hand’ Rosie for her punching power. I had a virus that attacked the nerves on the right side of my body and I lost the function of my arm.
“It was really serious, I couldn’t even get myself dressed it was that bad. It took me nine months to come back from that and then when I did the Olympic qualifier was cancelled.”
Eccles admits she was “heartbroken” after missing out on selection for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo last summer.
She lost her March 2020 qualifying bout in London just as coronavirus swept the UK, and was denied the chance to box again after the event was postponed and rescheduled.
Eccles, however, helped Price prepare for Tokyo and her teammate became the first Welsh fighter to win Olympic boxing gold.
Price has since turned professional and Eccles said: “I was disappointed I didn’t make the Olympics but I stayed in (Team GB) camp and helped her prep.
“We still get on now, I’ll help her and she’ll help me. She’s going to come down and help me spar for the Commonwealths.
“That was Lauren’s time, things fell into place for her – and maybe my time is now.
“I’m not daft, I know I’ve stayed in her shadow and gone more under the radar. But maybe I can step out of that shadow now after working so hard for the last decade.”
Eccles is also determined to go one step better than four years ago when she lost a 3-2 split decision to England’s Sandy Ryan in the women’s 69kg final.
“I thought I’d done enough to win the fight and not to have my hand raised was gutting,” said Eccles, who grew up in Caldicot and Chepstow.
“But I think things happen for a reason. It’s given me more grit going forward. There’s just something so special about the Commonwealth Games and fighting for Wales.
“When I won the silver in Australia some people painted their doors red where I’m from and put my name on them. The support was unreal and to win the gold this time would be even better.”