Commonwealth Games: Taylor powers into last 16

Josh Taylor of Scotland en route to a unanimous last-32 victory over Kagiso Bagwasi of Botswana at the SECC last night. Picture: Andrew O'Brien.
Josh Taylor of Scotland en route to a unanimous last-32 victory over Kagiso Bagwasi of Botswana at the SECC last night. Picture: Andrew O'Brien.
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Scots boxer Josh Taylor is through to today’s 64kg round of 16 after overcoming Botswana’s Kagiso Bagwasi by a unanimous decision at the SECC last night.

The 23-year-old 2012 Olympian looked in lean condition as he made his way around the canvas, picking off his opponent with good use of the jab to ensure his place in the last 16 was safe.

Taylor confessed afterwards he didn’t feel it was his best performance but was pleased to overcome his opponent in what was a relatively straightforward fight for the Edinburgh fighter.

Meanwhile, lightweight Joe Cordina hopes his victory over highly-rated England teenager Pat McCormack can provide a much-needed kick-start to Welsh boxing hopes at Glasgow 2014.

Wales suffered a blow on the eve of the Commonwealth Games when Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans was refused accreditation following a recent assault conviction and world number one flyweight Andrew Selby suffered a shock defeat to Scottish teenager Reece McFadden on the first day of action.

Cordina faced a tough battle to avoid another Welsh defeat against Washington 19-year-old McCormack, a former world and European junior champion, but he edged a split decision in the SECC.

The 22-year-old said: “Obviously it was the second bout for Welsh boxing and the first win so hopefully the rest of the boys and girls can carry on doing it for Wales.

“When you come to a tournament like this you are a team. As soon as you step through the ropes, you are on your own. So I tried not to think about what happened with Andrew and Fred, I just concentrated on myself.”

Cordina landed most of the early shots but McCormack caught him a strong straight left towards the end of the first round and appeared to make the better breakthroughs in the second.

The third round was a scrap and, with two of the judges already decided either way, Cordina did enough to persuade the Korean official to seal the contest with the Welshman feeling he landed the cleaner shots.

Cordina, who will fight Canada’s David Gauthier in the next round, added: “Basically that was the gold medal bout for me. Obviously with us being in the Team GB set-up, he is number one and I am number two, so it was quite a big fight for me.”

McCormack vowed to learn from the experience.

He added: “I didn’t feel that good there. I thought I might have nicked it, but it wasn’t to be.”

England’s Sam Maxwell began his light-welterweight bid with a one-sided victory over Ikani Falekaono, stopping the Tongan halfway through the second round.

Scotland’s Charlie Flynn and Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick were handed byes into the last 16.

Meanwhile, it’s a big day ahead for Scotland’s boxers with a host of quarter-final places up for grabs at the SECC today.

Motherwell’s 52kg fighter Reece McFadden, fresh from his extraordinary victory over world number one Wales’ Andrew Selby on Friday, will hope to seal his spot in the last eight this evening when he steps into the ring against English opponent Charlie Edwards. The 19-year-old showed terrific agility and was ruthless with his punches to win the contest by a unanimous decision and will be in confident mood ahead of his bout with Edwards.

In the men’s lightweight division (60kg) and after receiving a bye in the first round, Charlie Flynn, 20, of Lanark, begins his pursuit of Commonwealth glory when he comes up against 21-year-old Australian Nick Cooney in this afternoon’s session.

Another Scot aiming to warm himself to the home support will be men’s light heavyweight (81kg) pugilist Scott Forrest from Forth. The 19-year-old Johannesburg-born boxer was also fortunate enough to receive a bye into the last-16 and will be aiming to overhaul opponent New Zealand prodigy David Nyika who only took up the sport four years ago at the age of 14.

Glasgow’s Stephen Lavelle begins his heavyweight (91kg) competition with a last-16 clash with Welshman Kody Davies this evening.

Lavelle, 23, will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of team-mate Ross Henderson who prevailed in his super heavyweight bout on Friday.