Commonwealth Games: Taylor set for semi-final

Scotland's Josh Taylor defeats Zack Davies of Wales. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
Scotland's Josh Taylor defeats Zack Davies of Wales. Picture: Andrew O'Brien
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Edinburgh’s Josh Taylor sent out a warning to his rivals that he means business with another ruthless display of boxing last night to secure his place in Friday’s 64kg semi-final.

The Lochend fighter was simply too strong for opponent Zack Davies of Wales as he stormed to his third unanimous victory of the competition – England’s Samuel Maxwell now standing in his way of Saturday’s gold medal bout at the SSE Hydro.

The 23-year-old 2012 Olympian, 
donning the blue vest this time round, was quick out of his corner, as was Davies. The Welshman did try to assert his authority within the opening 90 seconds, but Taylor was able to assume control just as he did over his previous two conquests.

A combination of shots in the closing seconds of the first round was undoubtedly the highlight, increasing the intensity and as the second round wore on, Taylor seized his opportunity. Working the jab to great effect, Davies simply couldn’t fend off the hungry Scotsman and was knocked to the canvas as the noise inside the SECC Precinct increased several notches.

By the third round, Taylor again had his opponent in trouble with another big right hook firmly planted as his spot in the penultimate stage proved never in doubt.

“I knew it was going to be a hard fight as he [Davies] used to be in the GB Development squad so we’ve sparred a few rounds together a couple of years back,” Taylor said after. “He still has a similar style but it was more aggressive and sharper than I was expecting, but I think I had the fight under control.

“I’m not a one-hit wonder – it’s the ones [punches] you can’t see coming that do the most damage. I believe in myself and I know I am going to be a world champion one day.”

Meanwhile, teen prodigy Reece 
McFadden is also through to Friday’s semi-final in the 52kg weight category after another unanimous victory this time over Botswana’s Oteng Oteng.

The 19-year-old from Motherwell, an apprentice joiner, had already sealed his last-eight spot with relative ease after defeats of world No 1 Andrew Selby of Wales and the highly-rated Englishman Charlie Edwards, but his latest triumph in yesterday’s quarter-final ensured the likeable boxer will leave Glasgow with a bronze medal at the very least.

It was clear from the opening bell that orthodox Oteng wasn’t going to allow McFadden to settle into his stride, the Scotland fighter restricted to mostly body shots which was enough to sneak him ahead in what was a closely-fought first round.

Oteng went for a swooping left hook in the second but missed, enabling 
McFadden to capitalise with his own powerful shot which the Botswanan felt the brunt of before ending the final few seconds of round two with a right-left combination.

Oteng put up a sterner performance in the third but McFadden knew he’d done enough, bowing to the crowd prior to the result being announced. McFadden, who will face Australia’s Andrew Moloney in the last four on Friday, said: “It doesn’t ease the pressure at all. I’ve got a bronze medal and that’s amazing but that’s another fight in the bag and I need to focus on the next one.

“All of this crowd are cheering for 
me and the atmosphere is absolutely electric.”

Charlie Flynn powered past Ghana’s Jessie Lartey by a unanimous decision in his 60kg quarter-final contest to ensure Scotland will at least come away from Glasgow 2014 with three bronze medals from boxing.

Lanark’s Flynn, 20, will now box Wales’ Joseph Cordina in Friday’s semi-final but isn’t fazed at what his next 
opponent has to throw at him.

“I don’t think about medals, I just look to go in and perform,” he said. “I don’t care if it is the prelims, quarters, final, I’ll just get tore in. They’re in my back garden so I’ll take out the next guy in front of me. I look into each opponent and study them and I look to beat them – kill the crocodile closest to me.

“They’ve been tricky, awkward southpaws I’ve had previously, who try to counter and smother you and do awkward things, so I can now get in and do what I normally do against Joe.”

There was disappointment, however, as superweight (91kg+) Ross Henderson’s Games came to an end after he was outclassed by English opponent Joseph Joyce in their quarter-final bout.

Henderson never looked comfortable in the ring and was brought to his knees several times as he struggled to live with the superiority of Joyce. The contest was brought to an end five seconds prior to the final-round bell with the Scot completely out on his feet.

Henderson said in the aftermath: “I put 110 per cent in there. I knew I was in for a hard time of it as he’s a hard fighter. I think that should have been a final and I should be going home with a medal but that’s boxing.

“You don’t get gold medals for fighting with a big heart and I should have boxed better, but I just got carried away. I knew I’d have to upset Joe but I’ve left everything in there and I can go home with my head held high.”