THE identity of the boxers who will represent Team Scotland at this summer’s Commonwealth Games moved a step closer last night after the finals of the Scottish Championships at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.
The most anticipated fight of the Championships was fifth in line and 69kg rivals Lewis Benson of Lochend and Connor Law of Glenrothes received a rapturous reception from fans spread throughout the arena.
With so much at stake, both boxers were on their guard in the opening three minutes, the odd venture forward to signal their intentions.
With Law the reigning 69kg champion and in pole position for the coveted Commonwealth Games berth, Benson began to make inroads in the second round before Law fought back before the bell.
With the minutes ticking down in the third, both fighters looked jaded but Benson continued to press his opponent and land the cleaner shots before the clock ticked out earning him a unanimous win. It what was only his fifth fight after moving up from 64kg.
“Words can’t describe how I am feeling just now,” Benson, who won the 64kg title last year, said immediately after. “I’ve just beat the current Scottish champion. Everybody had written me off but I’ve been saying all over my Twitter and Facebook I was going to make it three-in-a-row.
“It has to be me that goes [to the Commonwealth Games] now, I’ve just beaten the Scottish champion in only my fifth fight.”
Despite all the hype surrounding this year’s male amateur pugilists, it was the female featherweight title that was first to be decided and after the opening bout was initially declared a draw after four rounds, Farah Jamill from Bellahouston emerged the victor by a split decision from Doonhamers’ Sinead Price Greene after a review of the judges’ individual scorecards.
The second bout of the evening, another female contest this time at light welterweight, was a far more one-sided affair with Hanna Carlsson of Glenrothes proving too strong for her opponent, Newarthill’s Paula Docherty.
Carlsson, in the red corner, produced her most competent shots in the second round when she had her opponent pinned on the ropes and produced a series of jabs in what was a relatively straightforward victory.
Stephen Lavelle of the Hayfield in Glasgow, a strong competitor on the international circuit at heavyweight, was fast out of the blocks in the opening round of his contest with East Lothian’s Gary Fairgrieve.
However, the Haddington fighter landed a couple of hits of his own in the second round to claw his way back into a more creditable position in the contest. But it was Lavelle who carried more energy in the final round, forcing his opponent around all four corners and was extremely prolific with both his head and body shots in what was an untidy clash on the eye.
The penultimate final in the women’s championships pitted welterweights Gardner Moore of Heriot-Watt and Renfrewshire’s Gemma Brodie against each other and produced a low-key first round with neither willing to take control.
But Moore appeared the more composed over course of the next three rounds and was awarded the Scottish title on a split decision.
Featherweight (f): F Jamill (Bellahouston) won by split decision v S Price Greene (Doonhamers).
Light welterweight (f): H Carlsson (Glenrothes) won by unanimous decision v P Docherty (Newarthill)
Heavyweight (m): S Lavelle (Hayfield) won by unanimous decision v G Fairgrieve (East Lothian).
Welterweight (f): G Moore (Heriot-Watt) won by split decision v G Brodie (Renfrewshire).
Welterweight (m): L Benson (Lochend) won by unanimous decision v C Law (Glenrothes).