Croydon's Joshua Buatsi is looking to follow in the footsteps of previous British Olympic boxing champions after recently sealing his spot at Rio 2016, writers Benjamin Young.

The 23-year-old defeated Dutch rival Peter Müllenburg in the final of the European Olympic Qualifying event in Samsun, Turkey, earlier this month to bag himself a plane ticket to Brazil.

And the light-heavyweight is ecstatic to fulfill one of his childhood goals and is now hoping to go one better and claim a medal at the Games in Rio.

“It’s a lifelong dream to get there and it’s a reality now, I’ve actually qualified and I’m going to the Olympic Games,” Buatsi said.

“I’m still dwelling on it, it’s sinking in slowly but it’s a big achievement for me.

“The fifth fight of the qualifiers was against an old rival that I’ve had for the past year, so it was great to beat him to win the tournament.

“I can’t put it into words what it would mean to go on and win a medal, it would be a massive dream come true, I’m actually speechless thinking about it!

“I went to watch a few bouts at the Olympics in London and it’s fantastic to see the guys that won gold and a medal for us, what they’ve done from there.

“Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell, they’re still coming down to the gym and I still get to see them from time to time.

“To see where they are now and know they were in the position I’m in, it’s inspiring to see where I could be in a few years.”

Buatsi was one of nine British boxers to qualify for Rio from the qualifying event, including Nicola Adams, who is looking to become a double Olympic champion after her historic London 2012 success.

And having already won at a test event in Rio late last year, Buatsi is hoping to draw from that experience to do well at the Olympics this summer.

But the 23-year-old’s road to Rio has been different to others, as he is still part-way through his degree at St Mary’s University in Twickenham, with over 60 per cent of gold medallists since 1992 having participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games.

“British boxing is on a different level at the moment and it’s a privilege to be a part of it,” Buatsi added.

“When we go to tournaments other countries are looking at us because they’re thinking that Team GB has qualified nine of their boxers in one go.

“It’s good to see a former Olympic champion come to tournaments with us and go out there and repeat it again.

“It’s a testament to Nicola and a big credit to qualify again, and I’m confident she can win another gold medal.

“I went to Rio in December and won gold in the test event, so it’s a massive boost that I’ve already won there.

“All the gold medals, every fight and everything that I’ve done coming up to this is going to be in my head.

“I’m going to take the positives and go out there and perform.

“I’ve juggled college and university with boxing, I’m in my last year of university but I’ve postponed it until September.

“During this period I had to qualify, which I have, and I’ve still got a couple of modules to finish after the Games.”

*British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for Higher Education (HE) sport in the UK, organising leagues and competitions for more than 150 institutions across 52 different sports. Supported by Deloitte, BUCS offers programmes to athletes from a grass roots level through to Commonwealth and Olympic Games hopefuls