Boxer Lawrence Okolie may have qualified for the Rio Olympics after just 23 amateur fights, but the Londoner insists he will only be happy if he emulates Anthony Joshua and wins gold.

Okolie, from Hackney, missed the majority of London 2012 as he was working in McDonalds, but he was inspired when he saw Joshua become champion four years ago – and is in awe at what the world champion has since achieved.

The 23-year-old started boxing in 2010 as a way of losing weight after tipping the scales at almost 18 stone, and he completed his remarkable journey from overweight guy to gold medal contender when he qualified for Team GB at a European qualifying event in April.

And now his eyes are firmly fixed on success despite his inexperience, insisting he is not there to make up the numbers.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself because I want the gold medal. If I don't win then my life will still continue but I am focused,” he said.

“Training is going well. There are still a few weeks where we need to refine a few things.

“There are some things I am working on that can hopefully give me an edge. I am inexperienced but I feel I soak up information quicker than someone who is more experienced.

"I could imagine this last year but I could never see it. But putting the kit on was crazy. When I stated boxing, there was not an end goal or a plan - I just liked the training.

"I had been boxing for a couple of years but I was working in McDonalds in the summer of 2012 so I didn't get to see any of the Games.

“Then I saw Anthony Joshua and Usain Bolt win Olympic gold so it was then that I thought 'this is possible'. To be given an opportunity now is amazing.”

Okolie, a psychosocial studies student at the University of East London, honed his skills at Repton Boxing Club, and is now a member at Dagenham.

Over 60 per cent of gold medallists since 1992 have participated in BUCS sport, with 56 members of Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics competing for Great Britain at the World University Games and Okolie believes his experiences at BUCS – he won gold in 2014 – has helped him get ready for his Olympics bow.

"BUCS prepared me for this. I had world class training facilities at the University of East London. We had sports therapists, strength and conditioning rooms and people who looked after us,” said Okolie.

“So in terms of a set up, it prepared me for Team GB because everything was so professional: the training, the preparation, the fights themselves.

“Getting in the ring with so little experience in a big competition is a big part of why I am going to Rio.

"When I transitioned to the GB set up, I had the experience of fighting for someone.

“At uni, I was fighting for the university. Now, I'm fighting for Britain and I have the public behind me. It is very similar. Without BUCS, I wouldn't have qualified so quickly.”

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