Jacob Croot is a 19 year old who studies and trains at the Bristol Academy of Sport. Following the loss of the Greatest that is Muhammad Ali, I spoke to the lightweight champion to see how he plans to follow in his gloves prints.
Jacob hasn’t always done boxing, just before he turned 5 Jacob started playing rugby and then spent the 10 years after doing just that. One day in December 2011 he tagged along with a friend to a training session and quickly found he was good and I quote “had a natural talent for punching people in the face”.
The next step was to start studying and training at the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College which just happens to be home to the Bristol Academy of Sport, which is highly successful in a number of sports including boxing. Being at the SGS WISE Campus has given Jacob the chance to study 4 A Level subjects, gain a level 1 coaching certificate and train at the same time, he told me “I came to the college because my dream was to further myself in my career of boxing and then having the academic side of the college alongside as well it was a great bonus to have such a good qualification“.
To name Jacob’s achievements to date:
1x bronze medalist in Haringey box cup
1x Silver medalist in Haringey box cup
Western counties senior elite belt holder
1x bronze medalist in the three nations
international against Wales and Scotland
2x Gold medalist in Ireland box cup
2x National finalist
England international representative
Silver medalist in Cyprus box cup
The clearly very talented boxer said that “Everything I've achieved in my boxing, for example becoming an England international representative, I'm sure I couldn't of done it without the training at the college given by Craig Turner (Bristol Academy of Sport Boxing Coach)”.
Muhammad Ali was a massive inspiration to Jacob so losing him was gutting. He said that “he was a hero and an inspiration to many even myself, he was such a character, funny, everybody loved it when he argued with his opponents on the build up to fights, he was a great boxer and a fine gentleman. I never seen a man of that build move as fast as Muhammad Ali did! He was the greatest of all time”.
So naturally the next thing I had to ask was whether Jacob saw himself becoming one of the greatest too? “I have always been competitive, massively committed and dedicated to learn and to be the best that I can be. So with how far I have got in the short 4 years I have been boxing I can confidently say and believe that I will become the greatest someday and I won't stop until I'm there! So yeah Muhammad Ali's level”. In two weeks time he will be back in Haringey to see if he can win gold this time, which will add another achievement to already a long list.
Hopefully Jacob won’t be getting any pebbles in his shoes and will be able to face the mountains ready. Representing your country is never easy but it is very clear that this rising star has all the right punch lines and certainly has the right fists to match!