March 4 - Former world boxing champion Glenn McCrory (pictured) hopes to get the Cuban boxing team to commit to base themselves in Newcastle during the build-up to the 2012 Olympics by as early as May.
McCrory's Newcastle boxing school was yesterday among the 19 venues in the North East to be included in the pre-Games training guide for 2012.
He set up the Newbiggin Hall school in 2006, has already brought Cuban coaches to Tyneside and is returning to the Caribbean for more talks.
McCrory said: “It’s fantastic news and it’s all systems go now.
"We’ve put a lot of hard work in to take this from nothing to a stage where we’re going to probably host the greatest boxing nation on Earth.
“I’m going back to Cuba in May and we’re very hopeful that we’ll have them here, and I’m in talks with a couple of South American teams as well.
"I want some kids in the region to be competing with them, but I also wanted to bring somebody here so they could see where they can get if they work hard.”
The school already has two Cuban coaches working there, Alberto Gonzalez Caturla and Alberto Perez Basnueva.
McCrory, the former world IBF cruiserweight champion, has been trying to woo the Cuban team, the most successful in Olympic hsitory. for more than a year.
He has even enlisted the help of the country's legendary three-time Olympic champion heavyweight gold medallist Teofilo Stevenson.
Among those backing his plan is Jonathan Edwards, the 2000 Olympic triple jump champion, and Alan Shearer, the former Newcastle United and England captain, while Sebastian Coe, the London 2012 chairman and a keen boxing fan, visited the school last year.
McCrory said of being included in the guide said: "It is an honour for us to be chosen for the book and we look forward to hosting some of the best boxers in the world as they prepare for Olympic glory."