Steven Donnelly moves step closer to second Commonwealth medal in-a-row
THE rust has been well and truly shaken off and Steven Donnelly is moving nicely through the gears after progressing to within one win of a second consecutive Commonwealth Games medal.
Donnelly brought home bronze from Glasgow four years ago but felt he left gold behind and now, boxing in his third Commonwealths at a third different weight, is determined to go all the way.
The 29-year-old admits he still does not feel like a fully-fledged middleweight, having campaigned at 69 kilos for the majority of his career before moving up at the end of last year, but is getting used to giving away height and reach advantage Down Under.
Against Sierra Leonean Gabrilla Kamara yesterday, Donnelly had no call to dig as deep as during Friday’s hot and heavy last 32 clash with Welshman Kyran Jones, using his experience to dominate all three rounds.
“I’m going rightly,” said the All Saints fighter.
“It was good to get the win - your man wasn’t up to much but he was f**king big - big and strong. You should’ve seen the size of his arms, and every time he connected you could feel the strength.
“I really am a welterweight, you know. I mean, 73 kilos I weighed in at this morning – that’s too light. I probably could have made 69 if I’d have wanted to but I’d be weak at it. Making weight at the Europeans last year broke me.
“But this guy didn’t really want to mix it at all, he was just staying on the ropes really which sort of made me look bad but I just did what I had to do and got the three rounds out of it.
“The first fight was hard, my body’s still tired from it. I knew I had to set the tone against Wales and I knew it would be very hard - he was young and hungry, I just had that bit of man strength over him but he’ll be one for the future, definitely.
“So, after that, I was able to pace myself today. I could’ve got him out of there if I’d wanted to but I just took my time.”
One thing that isn’t helping his cause, however, is the ring canvas, as he added: “It’s very spongy, it doesn’t suit a boxer to be honest. It’s not the way you’d want it to be because it’s quite hard on the legs.”
And he goes into the unknown somewhat again in the early hours of Wednesday morning against Henry Tyrell.
The Samoan was fighting straight after Donnelly, who watched on from the comfort of the dressing rooms at Oxenford Studios, and is expecting a step up in class from Kamara.
“He’s a strong guy, he’s world ranked so he’s not bad.
“I was just looking there too, he’s given both his opponents so far standing counts so he can obviously hit, but he’s there to be hit as well.
“I just need to not get dragged into a fight with him and do what I’ve been doing, get the rounds in. Only three more fights to go - I’m looking forward to it.”
SEAN McCOMB EDGED OUT IN ANOTHER TIGHT McCORMACK CLASH
IT was the fight that should have been the final, but unfortunately for Sean McComb he will leave the Gold Coast empty-handed after coming out on the wrong end of a toss of a coin contest with England’s Luke McCormack.
Whoever won yesterday’s last 16 clash was always going to considered a huge favourite to go on and win gold and, just like their first meeting at the European Championships in Kharkiv last June, there was little to separate them.
McComb had been slow coming out of the blocks in their only previous encounter, giving away the first, but appeared to edge the opening round this time before a close second that could have gone either way.
The Holy Trinity southpaw got his jab flowing nicely in the third, though the smaller McCormack was always dangerous when closing the range and launching swinging left hooks.
Four of the five ringside judges clearly favoured the more aggressive style of the English fighter, with three scoring it 29-28 for McCormack, while the other two had cards of 30-27 for either fighter.
McComb has suffered his fair share of disappointments in his career so far, and tweeted afterwards: “Cheers for all the messages everyone - not the first time I've been beat and won't be the last! But all the support keeps me going thanks again! Bang bang gravy chip!”