By Caoilte de Barra
Wales representative Roan Crocker is a one-man team at the 2022 World Championships. After competing at junior level for over two years, the 2018 junior welterweight European gold medalist is now competing at Senior Light Heavyweight in Belgrade, Serbia.
Despite competing at middleweight on the regional scene, Crocker is happy with his decision to enter a weight class above.
“So obviously, with the tournament format, you’ve got to weigh in every day, and realistically it doesn’t make sense for me [to make middleweight every day]. I could make 84 every day, but it would affect my performances and no doubt I wouldn’t have been able to perform like I’ve been performing the last two days.
“I’m fully fed, I’m fully fueled now, and I’m sleeping. I don’t think that would’ve been a possibility at 84. I’m not saying I won’t go back down for the Euros in June, but I’ll have a bit more of a window to make it that way.”
Despite debuting at light-heavyweight in Belgrade, the EMMAA Four Nations gold medalist doesn’t feel much of a difference in strength.
“To be honest, I feel alright. I’m not feeling [that] these boys are a bit stronger, but I’ve got strong boys in the gym, and I’ve been sparring them for the full camp. They’re all similar. Weight to these boys will be, so it’s nothing new for me.”
Not only has Crocker come into this at a new weight division, but he is also without a coaching team and has been cornered by some of England’s coaching setup.
“Yeah, me and my dad. Shout out to Neil Crocker. We came over a one-man team with no coaching staff. I’m thankful to the English team for supporting me. Kean Kelly, Paul Kelly, Paul Reid, and all the rest of the English squad. They’ve been great to me in the back. Otherwise, there would’ve been no one out here, well, nobody in my corner without those guys.”
It’s been a lengthy amateur career for the Shore Academy athlete, but he has not rushed to go pro and wants to test himself more this year to ensure he’s fully ready before heading pro.
“Obviously, [due to Covid] the pros could carry on fighting in UFC and Cage Warriors, but for me, as an ammy, I had two years out. Realistically I don’t feel like I’ve experienced everything I need to experience. I’ve done the Euros twice as a junior. This is my first time as a senior, and personally, I feel like I need to do more senior competitions, do some Muay Thai fights, maybe K1, and then go pro next year as a complete package.”