Ben eyes top prize



BEN McEachran admits he won't be happy with adding a second Commonwealth Games bronze medal to his prized collection when the 2006 Games boxing competition gets underway on Friday.

The Gladstone heavyweight will not be content unless he makes the final - and even then it will hard for him to recall Melbourne with too much fondness unless he wins the gold.

With the remainder of the 10-member Australian squad, McEachran has settled into the Games village and is winding down his preparations, turning lengthy training sessions into shorter, more intensive workouts.

He will get to know the identity of his first opponent when the Games draw is held on Thursday.

"I've heard I'm coming into this ranked fifth. There's a Pommie guy who's highly rated but those rankings don't mean too much anyway," McEachran said after finishing training at the Brunswick gym yesterday.

"It would be okay to match Manchester but I really do want to go better by one or two positions

"When it comes down to it, I've put a lot of work in and I won't really be happy with another bronze."

In the past six months, the 25-year-old estimates he's only been home for four weeks. Getting to Melbourne has taken in trips to Norway, Hungary, the Philippines and the world titles in China.

Being away for so long means the Australian team doesn't need any extra bonding sessions in the lead-up to the start of the Games.

They have all become good mates and it's their goal to emulate the Manchester feats of the last Games boxing squad, which finished as the No.1 country.

"It's going to be hard to match that last team. They had some quality fighters, guys like Paul Miller, Daniel Geale and Justin Kane.

"We've got a very good team of our own here.

"The whole team are good mates. We're all pretty close."

Boxing team manager Phillip Goodes isn't into making predictions on how McEachran and his teammates will fare.

"We won't be giving much away now," he said. "I really wouldn't like to pick anyone out. We think they have all got a chance."



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