Trail of silver in Samoa for North's young boxers
THERE appears to be no stopping the Northern Ireland boxers down in Samoa after all five guaranteed themselves at least silver at the Commonwealth Youth Games yesterday.
Ulster High Performance coach John Conlan led Team NI to an impressive medal haul at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow (two golds, two silver and five bronze), but his young team all have their sights set on the top podium place in this morning’s deciders.
“Final it is tomorrow and silver guaranteed but that isn't my favourite colour, final day is my favourite day,” posted James McGivern on Facebook after his unanimous decision win over Australia’s George Payne in yesterday’s semi-final.
He meets Scotland’s William Stuart in the 56kg final in this morning’s session, which begins at 6am.
And McGivern’s confidence will be shared by his team-mates after they all put in stellar last four performances, with Conlan lauding “a great day’s boxing by all”.
First to book their place in the final was Stephen McKenna. The Old School light-fly has improved with each fight, and he oozed class on his way to victory over India’s Leichombam Singh (3-0). He meets Australia’s Tyler Blizzard in today’s final.
Tiernan Bradley proved he is a man of his word by taking care of business against England’s world number five-rated Dalton Smith at lightweight.
Omagh teenager Bradley had confidently predicted before the tournament that he could beat the Sheffield ace, and he delivered a gutsy performance to take a split decision win. He faces Papua New Guinea’s Thadeus Katoa today as he bids to turn silver into gold.
Oak Leaf welterweight Brett McGinty picked up his second win of the tournament against Australia’s Jack Gipp (3-0) and takes on England’s Mohammad Akbar today, while Aidan Walsh will be bringing home at least silver – just as his sister Michaela did from Glasgow last year – after getting the better of India’s Prayag Chatham (3-0).
His coach at Belfast club Holy Family, Gerry Storey, has backed Walsh to finish the job against the Isle of Man’s Matthew Rennie.
“This will have given Aidan a lot of confidence and he’ll want to go and get that gold now,” set the veteran trainer.
“Both him and Michaela are 100 per cent dedicated to the gym, training twice a day. Whatever you want him to do, he’ll do it – he’s willing to learn, and you can see the improvement he’s made. I’m delighted for him.”