The first section of the quarter-finals have now been held in the boxing tournament of the Commonwealth Games, and all of the winners of the bouts are now guaranteed medallists in Glasgow.
As has been a common occurrence in these Games so far, Day 5 produced a high number of surprises, with thirteen nations securing at least a bronze medal.
Bout of the day
India’s Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar triumphed over an English athlete, AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Bradley Saunders in the final in New Delhi four years ago, and he met with another English boxer this time around as well.
The 28-year-old Light Welterweight class (64 kg) boxer met with England’s Sam Maxwell, who became well known after competing in his debuting match in the national squad, when he stopped Russia’s AIBA World Champion Albert Selimov in April 2012.
Maxwell was in great form again, and the English boxer controlled the bout from the first round onwards, displaying his versatility against his technical rival, winning every single round on the scorecards, and guaranteeing himself a bronze at the very least.
Team of the day
Mauritius’ top women’s boxer is their National Champion, the 24-year-old Isabelle Ratna, who started the small African island’s winning ways in Glasgow on Day 5.
Her opponent was Taoriba Biniati, who was competing in her first main international tournament.
The 18-year-old hope from Kiribati impressed in spite of her lack of experience, but it was the Mauritian who succeeded, using her height advantage well during the contest, and secured her place in the Top 8 after winning the bout by unanimous decision.
Mauritius’ second boxer to fight in the fifth competition day was All Africa Games winner Kevin St. Pierre, who is their new star in the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg).
The 22-year-old met with Australia’s National Champion Jordan Samardali, who had impressively won two previous contests in Glasgow.
St. Pierre needed only 43 seconds to beat his Aussie rival, and is attracting a lot of interest in the Games.
Surprises of the day
Ghana’s Accra-based Omar Abdul Wahid competed in the 2010 AIBA Youth World Championships in Baku as a talented teenager, but until now had never really kicked on in the senior ranks.
The Flyweight class star is still only 20, and eliminated a strong medal contender in Glasgow following his second triumph in the Games.
After his opening victory against Papua New Guinea’s Kauko Raka, he enjoyed the performance of his career against Sri Lanka’s Beijing 2008 Olympian and AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Anuruddha Bandara Rathnayake, and the narrow victory ensured him at least a bronze medal for himself and his proud boxing nation.
England’s AIBA Women’s World Championships bronze medallist Natasha Jonas claimed a silver medal at the EUBC European Women’s Continental Championships in Bucharest last month, and arrived in Glasgow in top form.
The London 2012 Olympian struggled in her fight against Australia’s National Champion Shelley Watts, who defeated Jonas by split decision in the biggest surprise of the fifth competition day.
Dominica is a tiny island in the Caribbean region, and the country joined to the boxing map in 2007 when their athletes competed at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Chicago.
Valerian Spicer was the only women’s boxer sent to the Commonwealth Games from the country, but Spicer, who trains in the United Kingdom, shocked New Zealand’s top athlete Alexis Todd-Pritchard in their Lightweight class (60 kg) battle which ended with a unanimous decision in the favour of the Dominica representative.
Ones to watch
Scotland’s Reece McFadden had perhaps the toughest draw of any fighter competing in Glasgow, but has gone on a tear in his home country, including eliminating the two top favourites of the Flyweight class (52 kg) in Wales’ two-time EUBC European Champion Andrew Selby and England’s EUBC European Continental Championships bronze medallist Charlie Edwards.
McFadden met with yet another tough opponent, Botswana’s All Africa Games winner Oteng Oteng in a bid to secure a medal.
The African boxer tried to control the bout from the first round, but McFadden’s counter-attacks were more successful throughout the entire bout, and the Scottish teenager advanced to the semi-finals on home soil.
Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem claimed a bronze medal in the last edition of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi four years ago.
The South Asian Flyweight class (52 kg) boxer will be bagged at least the same medal in Glasgow following his clear triumph over Lesotho’s All Africa Games bronze medallist Moroke Mokhotho, who was their flagbearer in the opening ceremony last week.
Waseem used his best weapons, including his continuous attacks which was a successful tactic against the African boxer.
Nigeria’s Efe Ajagba eliminated Tonga’s top athlete, AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers silver medallist WSB boxer Uaine Fa in the preliminaries which was a huge surprise in the Games.
The 20-year-old Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) boxer had to meet with South Africa’s African Cup winner Paul Schafer, and he once again proved his potential and quality, by winning the bout, and Nigeria’s first boxing medal in the Commonwealth Games.
Fact/Stat of the day
Following the first day of the quarter-finals, twenty winners among the men’s part of the competition bagged a guaranteed medal in Glasgow.
After zero medals in the last edition of the Games, Australia’s Andrew Moloney bucked the trend and triumphed over Northern Ireland’s Ruairi Dalton meant, ensuring a first boxing medal for his country in eight years.
Kiwi teenager David Nyika defeated India’s top fighter Sumit Sangwan, and won the first boxing medal for New Zealand since the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have both claimed three medals already, while eleven other nations will have boxers in the semi-finals after the first part of the quarter-finals.
Quote of the day
“My triumph over England’s star Natasha Jonas was the best feeling I have experienced in my life so far! I was a very happy girl to be selected to represent Australia at the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, but this feeling definitely surpasses that! Natasha and I fought in Poland last year and it was a good fight, she beat me and I was determined not to let it happen for a second time: I had a feeling I would draw her first, but was excited to be in the ring against any opponent.
“I knew I had to take the fight to her knowing how strong and experienced she is in the ring. The tactic was to cut down her distance and not to give her the time to set up her combinations. I knew I could beat her if I was aggressive and did not giver her time or distance. I knew it was close and was honestly scared when the announcer said the split decision but I felt like I had the better of the exchanges, I was more aggressive and landed the better punches throughout the fight so I was confident the judges would see it the same. I am very satisfied to get the win today against such a quality opponent but I know my job is here now near completed.
“I have to move onto and focus on the next opponent and make sure I do not switch off after a strong performance today. I am confident in the training I have done in the lead up to the Commonwealth Games so I hope I can go all the way to the final and win the gold medal,” said Australia’s Shelley Watts after her surprise triumph over England’s London 2012 Olympian Natasha Jonas.
The second part of the quarter-finals will be scheduled in the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.