SPORTING a black eye and an ear to ear grin, Welsh boxing hero 23-year-old Lance Corporal Ashley Williams from Tidworth-based 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh regiment proudly displayed his Commonwealth Games boxing bronze medal at his barracks when he returned from Glasgow.

Lance Corporal Williams, who was the Welsh Boxing team captain, exceeded expectations to win a bronze medal at Glasgow 2014 in the Light Flyweight (49kg) Boxing. He now has realistic expectations of being selected as part of the British Olympic team for the 2016 Rio Games.

He won his first two bouts, but was defeated by the world number three, Devendro Laishram, of India, in his final fight on a unanimous decision.

“He fought bravely,” said Army boxing team manager Major Dom Cugudda, a staff officer at Bulford based 3rd (UK) Division, “but it was a fair decision.”

His road to success began when his mother took him to a boxing gym in his home town of Bridgend after he had come home in distress having been bullied at school. He tried his hand at an apprenticeship, but did not like it and joined the Army just before his 17th birthday and, in his own words, ‘has never looked back’.

“The Army allows me to train twice a day,” he said. “Then on Friday I go off to training camps either with Wales in Cardiff or in Sheffield with the GB boxing squad or I train with the Army, “I have had the best coaches, what more could you ask for.

“The support I had in Glasgow was amazing – my family and kids were there, and even the host nation of Scotland was cheering for me. And it meant a lot to know that everybody back home in Tidworth was watching and that they enjoyed it all as much as I did.”

A very determined young man whose attitude to life is “Don’t tell me that I can’t do something because I will strive to prove you wrong.”

A married father of two, his wife Amy and sons Declan, three, and Bailey, one, live in quarters in Tidworth.

Lance Corporal Williams said: “It has been very hard for Amy, I am always away at training camps, but she has been amazingly supportive.”