LEWIS BENSON saw his dreams of Commonwealth Games boxing glory shattered this afternoon as he crashed out of the welterweight tournament in the opening session at the SECC.
The Edinburgh boxer was confident of medal success at Glasgow 2014, having come through a controversial box-off against Connor Law of Glenrothes in April to secure the final place in the Scotland squad.
But Benson was left distraught as he lost his preliminary round contest on a split decision to New Zealand’s Bowyn Morgan.
The 22-year-old Scot entered the ring to the strains of the Proclaimers’ 500 Miles and a raucous welcome from the home support. He began well, fending off Morgan with clever boxing on the back foot to take the first round on all three judges’ scorecards.
But 25-year-old Morgan, rated as the brightest medal hope in the New Zealand team, turned the contest around with a stunning left hand in the second round which forced Benson to stagger back onto the ropes and receive a standing count from the referee.
The final round was closely contested with Morgan busier and more aggressive, while Benson again tried to utilise his greater height and better movement. But only one judge - Siarhei Asanau of Belarus - scored the fight in Benson’s favour. Yasar Cinar of Turkey and Nishantha Dharmadasa of Sri Lanka both preferred Morgan’s work and it is the Kiwi who progresses to the last 16.
England’s Scott Fitzgerald produced the most impressive display of the first welterweight session, recording the first stoppage win of the Games with a third round knockout of St Lucia’s Ron Bastien.