The finals of the Commonwealth Youth Games produced eight excellent gold medal bouts in Apia, Samoa as the stars of the future expertly displayed their potential to the boxing world.
Northern Ireland had five finalists in action on the final day of competition, and three of their talented athletes managed to win gold in the event, beginning with All Irish Youth National Champion Stephen McKenna, who defeated Australia’s Tyler Blizzard in the Light Flyweight (49 kg) final.
“The final went great, I boxed well, and I kept to my game plan to earn the victory. I was the better technical fighter, and my fitness has been proven as this was my fourth day fighting in a row against top class opponents. It feels great to be a champion and I have put a lot of training in for this. I would like to thank my dad and my coaches for all the training they have done with me,” said McKenna after his victory.
McKenna’s teammates James McGivern (56 kg) and Aidan Walsh (64 kg) also won gold medals for their country, which enabled them to finish top of the medal table.
Neighbouring Scotland also delivered success when John Docherty (75 kg) and Sean Lazzerini (81 kg) won the two heaviest weight categories, while English Welterweight (69 kg) Mohammed Harris Akbar claimed gold after beating Northern Ireland’s Brett McGinty.
The final two gold medals were claimed by Oceanian countries, as Australia’s Jack Bowen clinched Flyweight (52 kg) gold, and Lightweight (60 kg) Thadius Katua became the first Papua New Guinean boxer to win the Commonwealth Youth Games.
Eight nations had at least one boxer in the finals, while the host nation of the event Samoa secured three bronze medals.
Botswana, Cyprus, Mauritius, Seychelles, Tonga and Zambia also achieved medals in the event.
Gold medal winners in Samoa
- 49 kg: Stephen McKenna, Northern Ireland
- 52 kg: Jack Bowen, Australia
- 56 kg: James McGivern, Northern Ireland
- 60 kg: Thadius Katua, Papua New Guinea
- 64 kg: Aidan Walsh, Northern Ireland
- 69 kg: Mohammed Harris Akbar, England
- 75 kg: John Docherty, Scotland
- 81 kg: Sean Lazzerini, Scotland