Boxing

Aidan Walsh taking Commonwealth final in stride

West Belfast's Aidan Walsh proved too quick and elusive for Welshman Garan Croft in yesterday's Commonwealth Games semi-final. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran in Birmingham

AIDAN Walsh insists he is not preoccupied with upgrading the silver medal won in Australia four years ago he goes for Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham tomorrow.

The west Belfast counter-punching king barely broke sweat on the way to a split decision semi-final victory over the game Garan Croft – with the Welshman admitting Walsh probably felt “fresh as a daisy” after a frustrating afternoon for his opponent.

Olympic bronze medallist Walsh lost out to England’s Pat McCormack on finals day in the Gold Coast, but stuck to the same mantra that has kept him going throughout these Games – enjoy every second and worry about the results later.

“He’s a top class fella,” said the 25-year-old of Croft.

“This is boxing, you have to be respectful and that’s a class act there, a real true champion. Someone with humility, with good values, that’s what you look for in people. Boxing doesn’t define who you are, anybody can go in the ring and be good, but that’s a class act there. I’ve all the respect in the world for that fella.

“But of course, I enjoyed it - it’s just great to be here, to be able to enjoy it and seemed to show in there, so I’m happy enough.

“If I do my best, it is what it is. I just want to enjoy every minute. I’m not even thinking about the gold medal fight. I am happy with my life, I have great people around me, great coaches, great girlfriend, family, so what more do you want?

“I’m looking forward to just chilling out later on, relaxing. The final will come, I don’t rush it, I just want to enjoy every minute of this journey I’m on.”

Croft had promised to turn the heat up on Walsh but, like so many before, struggled to land a meaningful shot.

The next man to have a go looks a different proposition altogether, with the strong, aggressive approach of Mozambique’s Tiago Muxango catching the eye right the way through the competition.

He will try to force Walsh from his comfort zone, but the trick remains making that pressure pay.

“You want to test yourself against all styles, whether that’s in a fight in the Antrims or the Commonwealth Games prelims, you just want to test yourself.

“He’s a great boxer too but I’m just grateful to be here. I don’t put no pressure on myself. If he’s going to try and do it, so be it. May the best man win.”

Meanwhile, Jude Gallagher was handed a walkover into tomorrow's featherweight final after Canadian opponent Keoma-Ali Al-Ahmadieh withdrew this evening. The Tyrone tornado will meet Ghana's Joseph Commey at 7pm.

Boxing