Going For Gold – Muhammad Aims To Become Dutch Master
Lutalo Muhammad’s collection of Dutch Open medals is conspicuous by the absence of gold but all that could change in Eindhoven tomorrow.
The ‘Walthamstow Warrior’ has achieved podium places at the last four editions out of the five of the prestigious tournament, winning bronze in 2010 and 2012 plus silver in 2011 and 2014.
But after an excellent start to 2015, including victory at the US Open, Muhammad, 23, believes he can launch a serious challenge for top spot in the final event before the WTF World Championships in Russia.
“It is an important event for all of us with it being a selection tournament towards the Worlds,” confirmed the London 2012 bronze medallist,
“My goal is to show my quality and hopefully confirm my place. That brings another kind of pressure but I am excited to be out here to show what I can do.
“However, it is not just about me. It is the start of a critical time in all our careers.
“The performances we put in now could potentially change our lives for the better. I am determined to keep banking good performances to ensure not only a place at the Worlds but also looking forward to Rio 2016 and making sure I am the man who gets picked.”
In addition to his Stateside gold, Manchester based Muhammad finished runner-up at the Turkey Open and third at the Luxor Open.
“A lot of lessons have been learned from past performances,” he confirmed.”As much as this is a physical sport, I probably now appreciate more the mental preparations that go into producing top performances.
“It is something I have always known but I realise it can give me an extra edge now I am older and more experienced.”
Muhammad, who fights at -80kg with Damon Sansum,is part of a 22-strong squad competing in Eindhoven this weekend including Olympic champion, Jade Jones. ‘Headhunter’ Jones has won her last five tournaments and is also unbeaten in 2015 after three successive victories.
In contrast, 2014 Commonwealth champion Andrew Deer is delighted to be taken out to Holland for an important date. The Tamworth star was last seen as a successful contestant on ITV’s popular dating show, Take Me Out.
But while he won the heart of his Fernandos companion Deer hasn’t won any fights this year due to a knee injury.
Teenagers, Christian McNeish and Max Cater, have proved a match for the senior stars this year and will be looking to add to their Turkey and Swiss Open titles.