Commonwealth Games: Stephen Lavelle secures bronze

Scotland's Stephen Lavelle beats Indian opponent Amritpreet Singh Amritpreet in the men's heavyweight category. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Scotland's Stephen Lavelle beats Indian opponent Amritpreet Singh Amritpreet in the men's heavyweight category. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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TEAM Scotland won another guaranteed bronze medal but saw two boxers lose on another day of atmospheric action at the SECC.

Overcoming a very awkward opponent, Stephen Lavelle gained a unanimous points decision over Armitpreet Singh of India, the tallest boxer in the Games at 6ft 6ins.

Cheered to the echo by the Scottish fans, Lavelle cut his opponent down to size with some tough inside brawling and long shots. He survived a cut eye to progress to the semi final where he will meet David Light of New Zealand, impressive conqueror of Charles Okoth of Kenya.

Lavelle said: “He was such a tall boy and difficult to deal with but it’s not the size of the guy that matters. There’s ways of fighting tall guys and it worked.

“He was getting riled up and tired towards the end but I’ve got the heart of a lion and you’ll not get me to stop before that final bell.

“I’m delighted to be on that podium. It feels amazing to win in your home city, but I want gold now and nothing is going to stop me.”

Light might feel differently as the Kiwi already holds a decision over the Scot who added: “He fought me two years ago and he beat me but that was my first international fight and I have improved so much since then.

“We’ve got four boys in the semi-finals. We want to break that record of two golds in the boxing and I believe that’s what every one of us is here for.

“We’re such a tight group and Reece McFadden set the tone at the start with the win over Andrew Selby. That gave us all a lift and it’s created a great vibe in the camp.”

Lavelle needed immediate treatment to the cut over his left eye, one that had been inflicted in his first fight and which was reopened by Singh’s head. A stitch has been inserted under the skin and he was sure there would be no worry over his participation in the semi-final on Friday.

Before Lavelle fought, Scotland’s amateur ranks had lost a fine boxer in the shape of bantamweight Joe Ham who announced his immediate move to the professional side of the sport after he lost to Qais Ashfaq of England.

Ham tried to take the fight to Ashfaq but the Englishman was only ruffled on a couple of occasions, and though Ham was coming on stronger as the fight wore on, Ashfaq boxed cleverly to frustrate the Scot and win a unanimous points decision – “he was the better fighter,” as Ham sportingly admitted.

The Scot’s overall frustration showed with his immediate announcement of quitting the amateur game. Ham, who has fought more than 100 amateur contests and featured in two Commonwealth Games said: “I can never really get off to the fast start I want in the amateurs and I think it might be time to try something different. I’ve achieved a lot in the amateurs but it’s time to turn pro now.

“Words can’t describe how gutted I am. Years and years of hard work in the amateurs and it’s sad to end like this in the quarter finals – I thought I’d at least have got a bronze.”

The second brave loser for Scotland was light-flyweight Dundee-born Aqeel Ahmed who was comfortably beaten in the end by Devendro Laishram of India, ranked No. 3 in the world.

Ahmed took the first on one judge’s card with some adroit attacking punching, but a precise left hook near the end of the second put Ahmed on the canvas, and it was one way traffic in the third, Ahmed managing to last to the end with some degree of skill and courage.

“In the first round I suddenly thought I could win,” said Ahmed. “I knew he had power but I didn’t feel that until he caught me with one good cracking shot.”

Ahmed intends to carry on his amateur boxing career: “I could have been sitting in the house doing nothing or I could be here, and even if I had got knocked down, knocked out, stopped, and cut, if I was beaten bad, I would still rather be here.

“I went out on my shield. I didn’t go in there to survive but to win. But the better man won, there’s nothing more to it.”

Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland served notice that he intends to stay the light-flyweight champion by knocking down Charles Keama of Papua New Guinea four times before the referee stopped the fight.

He will be joined in the semis by Ashley Williams of Wales who won his quarter final on points over Muhamad Fuad Mohd Redzuan of Malaysia.

The other Home Nations boxers in the bantamweight quarter finals were Michael Conlan of Northern Ireland, who comfortably beat Bashir Nasir of Uganda on an unanimous points decision, while Sean McGoldrick of Wales was lucky to get the decision over Ayabonga Sonjica of South Africa.

In the heavyweights, Warren Baister of England lost to the divisional favourite Samir El-Mais of Canada.

At welterweight, Scott Fitzgerald of England beat Bowyn Morgan of New Zealand on a split decision and Northern Ireland’s Stephen Donnelly superbly triumphed over world No. 8 Custio Clayton of Canada.

At Middleweight, Connor Coyle became the seventh out of nine boxers from Northern Ireland to medal with a comprehensive win over Siphiwe Lusizi of South Africa. In the same weight division, Antony Fowler, cousin of Liverpool and England footballer Robbie, was a very impressive winner on points over Nickson Abaka of Kenya.

Olympic champion Nicola Adams led the home nations’ victories in the women’s boxing, her flyweight quarter–final against Erandi Da Silva of Sri Lanka proving tougher than expected after Adams put her opponent on the canvas in the first round.

“I’ve got to give her credit,” said Adams, “she never gave up and kept coming forward.”

Northern Irish Flyweight Michaela Walsh won a unanimous points decision over Jamaica’s Sara Joy Rae, her compatriot Alanna Audley-Murphy winning a split decision over Valerian Spicer of Dominica.


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