Commonwealth Games: Adams’ boxing gold is a last-day highlight

Nicola Adams
Nicola Adams
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Nicola Adams will have to get used to more mighty challenges like the one offered by feisty Belfast flyweight Michaela Walsh as she looks to sustain her dominance through to the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Adams added Commonwealth gold to her London 2012 title in Glasgow on Saturday night after holding her nerve to score a split decision win over her 21-year-old opponent.

Adams’ win was the highlight of a successful finals day for England boxers with gold medals also going to her room-mate Savannah Marshall, Antony Fowler, Scott Fitzgerald and Joe Joyce.

But if the boxing competition in Glasgow proved anything it is that the strength in depth of women’s boxing is far removed from the largely anonymous days when Adams first laced on gloves.

As well as the combative Walsh, who went home insisting she had been “cheated” of the verdict, Indian up-and-comer Pinki Jangra did enough to suggest she will pose a genuine challenge to Adams in Rio.

Adams said: “I think everybody’s after me now so I’ve got quite a big target on my back – I’m number one in the world and I’m Olympic and Commonwealth champion. Everybody wants to beat me so I can’t just focus on one person. I have to focus on everyone now.”

Adams admitted her gold medal triumph was made all the sweeter by being joined on top of the podium by her friend Marshall, who erased the memory of her first round defeat in London 2012 with a confident middleweight final win over Ariane Fortin.

“Savannah is my best mate and we stay together when we’re at tournaments so there was a lot of good energy in our room,” added Adams. “It was really rough in London because I knew Savannah could beat anybody in the world so it was horrible to see. But she has bounced back really strong here and she is now back in her rightful spot.”

Powerful Liverpool middleweight Fowler was another star of the boxing competition and the 23-year-old is committed to using his Commonwealth gold to build towards the Rio Olympics.

Fowler, who missed out on selection for 2012, said: “Commonwealth gold is great and I’m so proud of it but Olympic gold will mean so much to me.

“I went to Mexico on holiday when London was on because I couldn’t even watch it – it was breaking my heart.

“I could probably go professional and earn more money but I’ve got to be smart and clever and the Olympic route is definitely the way forward for me.

“When I turn pro at 25 I will be a big strong man and I won’t have to waste my time fighting journeymen.”

Silver for Leeds bantamweight Qais Ashfaq and bronze for Sam Maxwell completed England’s medal haul which was eclipsed by Northern Ireland’s extraordinary nine.

Double Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes retained his Commonwealth light-flyweight title in style and team-mate Michael Conlan beat Ashfaq to claim his nation’s second gold.

Ashfaq won the first round against Conlan but his opponent’s greater experience told in the end. Ashfaq tweeted after the fight: “Absolutely Gutted! Wanted that Gold medal soo much! Words can’t even describe! Sorry everybody!”

As well as silver medals for Walsh and 19-year-old Joe Fitzpatrick, there were also bronze medals for Sean Duffy, Connor Coyle, Steven Donnelly, Alanna Audley-Murphy and Sean McGlinchy.

Josh Taylor and Charlie Flynn delighted the host nation fans on finals night in the 20,000-capacity Hydro as they clubbed their way to victory in the light-welterweight and lightweight division respectively.

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