The semi-finals of the Commonwealth Youth Games was held today in Apia, Samoa, where the winners of each bout advanced to the finals and kept their golden dreams alive.
Bout of the day
ASBC Asian Youth Champion Gaurav Solanki triumphed over England’s Youth National Champion Brandon Daord in an entertaining Flyweight (52 kg) semi-final.
Solanki’s work from long range was very effective, and tempered Daord’s aggressive instincts.
A spectacular third round produced one of the best three minutes of the entire event, and finally it was the hand of Solanki which was raised in victory via unanimous decision.
His triumph means he will now face Jack Bowen in the Flyweight final, after the Australian defeated Samoa’s Ioane Ioane.
Team of the day
All five Northern Irish boxers in action on semi-finals day won their bouts, despite each competing against difficult opponents.
Stephen McKenna became Northern Ireland’s first finalist, when he beat Light Flyweight (49 kg) Leichombam Bhimchand Singh.
James McGivern continued the winning path after defeating Australia’s George Payne to establish a Bantamweight (56 kg) final with Scotland’s William Stuart.
Tiernan Bradley then triumphed over England’s EUBC European Confederation Junior Boxing Championships silver medallist Dalton Smith at Lightweight (60 kg), while Light Welterweight (64 kg) Aidan Walsh impressed against ASBC Asian Junior Champion Prayag Chauhan.
Brett McGinty became Northern Ireland’s fifth finalist, when he used his experience to eliminate Australia’s Jack Gipp.
Surprise of the day
18-year-old Matthew Rennie is the Isle of Man’s lone boxer in Apia, and delivered the biggest surprise on Day 3 when his speed and dynamism resulted in a memorable victory over Scottish Light Welterweight Kieran McMaster.
Australia’s Youth National Champion Tyler Blizzard endured a tough battle against Botswana’s AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships competitor Mohammed Rajab Otukile, but ultimately prevailed in their Light Flyweight semi-final.
Papua New Guinea’s Pacific Games winner Thadius Katua reached another highlight in his career when he defeated Samoa’s Iosefo Folesi at Lightweight.
England’s Benjamin Whittaker eliminated Cyprus’ Andreas Kokkinos, and will now fight for Middleweight (75 kg) gold against Scotland’s John Docherty.
Fact of the day
The following eight nations have at least one finalist in the Commonwealth Youth Games:
- Northern Ireland: 5 finalists
- Scotland: 3 finalists
- Australia, England: 2 finalists
- India, Isle of Man, Papua New Guinea, Tonga: 1 finalist
Quote of the day
“My tactic was to figure out him early in the first round, and then break him down and work towards the stoppage. My opponent was a very strong guy with a lot of heart, so I am satisfied with my performance,” said Northern Ireland’s James McGivern.
The finals of the Commonwealth Youth Games will be tomorrow, when eight gold medals will be presented to the winners of the weight classes.