COLCHESTER boxer Lewis Richardson insists missing out on the chance to compete at the Olympic Games this summer has made him even more determined to make it to Tokyo, next year.

The 22-year-old middleweight was on course to make it to the Games, after winning his first qualifier against France’s Victor Yoka, in March.

But the coronavirus pandemic then resulted in the suspension of all boxing and then the postponement of the Games, which are now due to take place in the summer of 2021.

Richardson has potentially two more qualifying fights to win to clinch his place for Tokyo.

And the former Thomas Lord Audley student says he is still desperate to achieve his goal, when boxing eventually resumes.

Richardson said: "I dealt with the cancellation of the Olympic Games quite quickly.

"I don't see it as much as a negative and everything happens for a reason.

"It's a year longer in my life and a lot can happen in that time but I'm looking forward to making memories and it'll be worth it.

"There are ups and downs and it's about how you manage them.

"It adds fuel to the fire.

"When you're finding things tough in training or struggling with your diet, it helps to give a real reason to focus.

"My coaches have said that to me; my coach Simon Mullan has been coaching me for eight years now - he's seen me improve and develop.

"He's my mentor and he told me I would box for Great Britain.

"A lot of the boys have been working towards it for years.

"I've been doing it since 2017 but they were already world number two or three.

"If I can keep the same progression as I've had over the last year or so at the same rate, I'll be even better.

"I believe I haven't reached my peak and I have that mindset."

Richardson has been busy keeping fit during the lockdown period - and has vowed to be in great shape when he returns to the GB Boxing camp.

"We have to make the most of these times because when we do go back, it'll be full on," said Richardson.

"It's been eight weeks now and I have my good days and my bad days but I have more good, than bad.

"I embraced it in the first five or six weeks but the last couple, I've been a bit up and down.

"It's a very mentally challenging time.

"But on the whole, it's been very positive.

"These weeks that we've been in lockdown can be crucial - you could come back stronger than someone who hasn't been training and that could make a big difference.

"Tough times create opportunities.

"This week, I've been able to go out for run and cycle and I feel better for it.

"I've been out on my bike with my brother to places like Dedham and Mersea, which has really helped.

"GB Boxing have given us weekly programmes to follow and training two times a day, five times a week with the option of things like yoga on a Saturday, too."

Richardson is backed by his sponsors Datum Group, Maldon Demolition, Highwoods Health Clinic, Baccus and Jak Finch Hair and has thanked them for all of their support.