COLCHESTER boxer Lewis Richardson is ready to make a welcome return to the ring – and is already plotting a route to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The 21-year-old has experienced a frustrating six months, after being laid low by a back injury just hours after being called up to the Great Britain development squad.

Richardson admits it has been a torrid time as he has slowly clawed his way back to fitness but the Essex University Boxing Club member is now hoping to return to the ring before the end of next month.

And with Olympic Games qualification beginning next summer, the talented pugilist knows that it now all systems go as he looks to make up for lost time.

Richardson told the Daily Gazette: “I’m feeling positive – I’m clear of the injury and I’m feeling fit.

“I had a very tough training camp last week and it’s all going well.

“I’m stepping up again and getting back to 100 per cent – I’m ready to come back and take on a strong opponent.

“It’s generally quite a quiet period over the summer and then it starts to liven up, which I’m looking forward to.

“I’m looking forward to testing myself and seeing how far I can go at elite level.

“I don’t fear anyone.

“Everything could fall into place – I’m only 21 and the plan for me is Tokyo 2020 but you don’t know what’s on the horizon.

“I will give everything 100 per cent and put everything into every training session and I’m willing to learn.

“We’re a team but we’re also all fighting to be number one and get to the top.”

Richardson was told at the start of the year of his GB squad selection, which has seen him based at their headquarters at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.

He will be part of an elite band of senior boxers aged between 18 and 37 who benefit from UK Sport Lottery funding and the World Class Performance Programme.

But the talented England international has so far missed out on the chance of impressing because of injury.

“This has been the longest period of time where I’ve been out of the ring,” admitted Richardson.

“It’s been a bit of a torrid time over the last few months and very frustrating.

“To be in the GB squad and then get injured was difficult to take.

“I’d only just got into the squad and it was the worst possible time for it to happen but if anything, it might be something of a blessing because it’s given my body a rest after a very busy time.

“If anything, this has made me more professional about training and recovery.

“I had a very busy couple of years prior to the injury and gave it my absolute all.

“Everything happens for a reason and potentially, it could be good timing, as I’ll be coming back refreshed.”

Richardson says he is looking forward to stepping up his work in Sheffield, ahead of his next bout.

He added: “The coaches say they are really looking forward to working with me and have said that they’ve been pleased with my attitude.

“The staff up there have been unbelievable.

“Everyone from the coaches, to the physiologists, to the psychologists to the doctors up there have been so supportive.”

Richardson has also thanked his sponsors Datum Group, Maldon Demolition, J Purdy & Sons and Highwoods Health Clinic for all of their support.