Amy Broadhurst saves best for last to claim Commonwealth gold

Gold medallist Amy Broadhurst with, from left, England's Gemma Richardson, Nigeria's Cynthia Ogumsemilor and India's Jaismine Jaismine during yesterday's Commonwealth Games medal ceremony in Birmingham. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

THERE was only one place Amy Broadhurst was going once all her media commitments were wrapped up following yesterday's gold medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games.

It wasn't to an ice bath, or a hotel room, or even to meet family – not straight away anyhow. Instead, the Dundalk woman only had eyes for the doughnut stand at the back of the NEC Arena after the perfect finish to a tough couple of weeks in a gruelling year to date.

Last autumn, Broadhurst wasn't sure what the future held as Olympic champion Kellie Harrington declared her intention to compete at the Paris Olympics in 2024.

But 2022 has changed the trajectory of her career for the better. First there was the shock invitation to help Katie Taylor prepare for her historic Madison Square Garden showdown with Amanda Serrano, followed weeks later by gold at the World Championships in Turkey.

On the back of that success, she came into the Commonwealths as a red-hot favourite to top the podium at lightweight before handling that pressure in impressive fashion, producing her best performance of the competition to defeat England's Gemma Richardson yesterday.

“It's been on my mind for a year-and-a-half now to come and win a Commonwealth gold medal,” said the Dundalk woman, who is affiliated to the St Bronagh's club in Rostrevor.

“They are buzzing [everybody at the club]. They have already been sending videos to me from the pub. It's great to bring it back to St Bronagh's and Gavin Dougan, a man who does everything for boxing. This is me giving something back, so I'm delighted.

“I know I'm going to have people who want to downgrade by saying I'm not from the north, but if I wasn't meant to be here I wouldn't be here. I deserve to be here just as much as everyone else. I have trained very hard for this Commonwealth gold medal and to have it now is amazing.

“I've made history as well in being the first female boxer from Northern Ireland to win a Commonwealth gold medal for Northern Ireland. To actually have that behind me, knowing I've made that sort of history is something I'm going to be proud of.”

And the 25-year-old hopes her success can create a legacy in Rostrevor, and for young women following the fortunes of Irish boxers on the biggest stages – with Broadhurst, Harrington and Taylor all at the top of their game.

“There's girls in my boxing club, Connie Gibbons was boxing yesterday and unfortunately lost, but I'm hoping her watching today, I can inspire her to go on and not give up.

“Even young girls coming up, this didn't come overnight - the same with the World gold medal - so if you keep knocking on the door, someone's going to answer it eventually. I'm just very lucky that after all the hard work it's starting to pay off.”

Unlike in her two previous fights in Birmingham, Broadhurst hit the ground running yesterday, sinking a series of sickening left hands into Richardson's midriff to lay down a marker.

The Englishwoman battled gamely, but couldn't handle her opponent's class as Broadhurst swept to a unanimous decision win.

“Now, I'm going to go out to that doughnut stand,” she laughed, “and then I'm going to go for food with my family and just relax.

“It's been a very long year, sparring with Katie Taylor, then [a multi-nations tournament in] Romania, the Worlds… it's been very draining.

“After the Worlds I took a couple of weeks off but in those couple of weeks I was being dragged everywhere, so I'm going to turn the phone off for a couple of weeks and just enjoy everything that I'm after achieving.”