ROSIE Eccles can lay down a marker in the race to win selection to box at next year’s Olympic Games as she targets European Championships success, with the action in Madrid getting under way today.

Eccles, 23, is hoping to go one better than the silver medal she won in Bulgaria in 2016, and outshine England’s Sandy Ryan, her rival for a place at Tokyo 2020.

But while the Caerleon welterweight has the chance to get a leg up on Ryan, the woman who beat her to Commonwealth Games gold last April, Eccles knows she can’t look too far ahead.

After the Europeans comes the World Championships in October, followed by Olympic qualifiers next spring, by which time Eccles will have a good indication of whether she is top Brit at 69kg.

“Performance is everything over the next six months with the first Olympic qualifier in March,” she said.

“Fingers crossed I’ll be at the first qualifier and get the job done there and then, but you’ve got to focus on one thing at a time and not get ahead of yourself.

“I think that was my downfall at the European Games, I put too much pressure on myself and it didn’t quite go to plan in Minsk.

“It’s between me and Sandy Ryan for the Olympics. Only one of us will be selected and it’s about who performs the best over the next six months, and it’s very much level pegging at the moment.

“I’ve got to think about myself first rather than worry about her, but I believe I can do it. The Europeans and Worlds are two great chances for me to impress the selectors.

“It’s all about the wins you get and how well rounded you are, and you want to make a statement if you are going to make the plane.”

Eccles and Ryan are members of the GB Boxing set-up, but for the Europeans and Worlds they can represent their home nations before fighting in a British vest in the qualifiers.

“My category is really competitive,” added Eccles, who fights out of Pontypool ABC.

“Some have moved up to my weight and others have come down, and there are a lot of really good girls, but they are all beatable.

“I won a silver at the last Europeans, so I’m hoping to go one step further this time.”

Having completed a masters in sport psychology this summer, Eccles has been able to prepare for Madrid without the added stress of her studies.

And when asked if boxing could become her full-time job, she said: “A few people have asked me if I’d like to turn pro.

“My style of fighting suits the pro game, and boxing with lighter gloves and doing more rounds are things I’d like.

“I still feel the talent is in the amateur game. It’s so much harder in the amateurs, and there aren’t that many fighters out there for me to turn pro.

“I’d like to do another Commonwealth Games, and then there could be the next Olympics as well.”