Semi-final heartache for Wales as they leave the Commonwealth Games with five bronze medals

Semi-final heartache for Wales as they leave the Commonwealth Games with five bronze medals

Today looked like it would be a defining day for the Welsh amateur boxing team that the national head coach Colin Jones had hailed as the best ever but it ended with five defeats that left a bittersweet taste in the mouth. Although many would have settled for Wales winning five prestigious medals at the start of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, there’s a slight feeling of disappointment that all of those medals are bronze and Wales were beaten in all five opportunities to reach the final. It began with Sean McGoldrick whose dream of consecutive gold medals at the Commonwealth Games ended with a loss. The Newport native took gold in Delhi four years ago but he’ll take a bronze medal home from Glasgow following a defeat to Ireland’s Mick Conlan at the semi-final stage. McGoldrick lost the opening round, as he had done in his two previous contests in Glasgow, and made a big effort to turn the momentum in the second round but in doing so, his enthusiasm led to a head clash with Conlan. The Irishman suffered a cut above his eye and was ruled unable to continue in the contest, therefore it went to the scorecards which had Conlan ahead with scores of 20-18. Team Wales appealed the decision, attempting to get the 22-year-old Welshman in the bantamweight (56KG) final but it was rejected. AIBA, the governing body of world amateur boxing, withdrew headguards for male senior boxers last year and this incident re-raises the controversial issue. Conlan has since been ruled fit to appear in the final. Splott’s Nathan Thorley was stopped in the final round of his light-heavyweight (81KG) semi-final against Mauritius’ Kennedy St Pierre. The 21-year-old from Cardiff was given two standing counts in the first round and he wasn’t allowed back in to the fight by the visitor from that point onwards. Thorley, known as Thunder, was brave and never knocked off his feet but Colin Jones was forced to throw the towel in to the ring in the third round as Thorley took several heavy punches while clearly fatigued. The Welshman, who works as a lifeguard, is another who has taken his first medal at a major tournament. Bargoed’s Lauren Price was eliminated from the Commonwealth Games courtesy of a Split Decision loss to Canada’s Ariane Fortin. The middleweight was Welsh boxing’s final female representative at the event and Price came so close to a place in the final but a standing count in the last second of the fourth and final round appeared to cost her the opportunity. In the opening pair of rounds, Price stayed a step ahead as she circled the ring and out-sped her opponent, who was also a southpaw. However, Price’s movement slowed in the third and Fortin was able to square the Welsh woman up on the ropes. With Price more static, Fortin punched at the same time as her opponent and it took away the speed advantages that Price initially had. A standing count at the end of the third and fourth rounds saw Fortin pip her way to the final. Price has taken a bronze to become the first Welsh female boxer to win a medal at a major international multi-sport event. Ashley Williams, who has been captain of the boxing squad, was another boxer to take a medal at his first major tournament but it was a bronze, not the gold he so valiantly fought his heart out for. The light-flyweight (49KG) ran in to India’s excellent Devendro Laishram, rated as the third best in the world, and pushed him all the way but the Welshman was always second best as he lost a Unanimous Decision. Williams, who serves as a Lance Corporal in the army, attempted to impose his strength in the opening round but Laishram was a step ahead, able to turn his opponent and land from angles out of Williams’ eye-line. Knowing he lost the first round, Williams was extra-enthusiastic in the next round but he walked on to a left hook that dropped him to the canvas. In the final round, Williams displayed his typical tenacity in the final round as Laishram slowed but it wasn’t enough to turn it around. Cardiff’s lightweight (60KG) Joe Cordina was Wales’ last hope of a finalist but he was ever so slightly out-worked by an inspired Charlie Flynn who was boosted by the home support of the Glaswegian crowd as he took a Split Decision victory at the Scottish Exhibition Centre. The Welshman, of Maltese descent, walks away with a bronze which is his first medal at a major tournament. In the opener, Cordina produced the much cleaner punching as Flynn poured forward and walked on to counter-punches. However, the Scot’s blatant pressure was making the bout scrappy and it suited Flynn who ground out the next two rounds. There were numerous rule infringements but it was Cordina who received the only warning when he pushed the top of his head under Flynn’s chin. Cordina’s route to the semi-finals was arguably the most difficult that any boxer in the competition recieved and it appeared to take it’s toll. The hard fought decision wins over England’s Pat McCormack, Canada’s David Gauthier and New Zealand’s Chad Milnes robbed the St Joseph’s boxer of his usual energy and forced him to hold his feet more than usual, giving Flynn the opportunity to ambush Cordina.

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