Boxing: Ashfaq settles for Euro silver after tense final

Qais Ashfaq (right).
Qais Ashfaq (right).
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LEEDS boxer Qais Ashfaq claimed a silver medal at the European Championships in Bulgaria as Great Britain enjoyed their best ever results in the event.

Ashfaq failed to get the better of Ireland’s Michael Conlan, who beat him in the Commonwealth Games bantamweight final last year.

Twenty-two-year-old Ashfaq had wanted revenge for his defeat in Glasgow but the Olympic bronze medallist was awarded the decision after a tentative, technical match.

Writing on his Instagram account after the fight, Ashfaq said: “Well what can I say! Personally I thought I won today and so did a lot of people but well done to Michael Conlon, he’s a class fella and a nice kid and I’m the first to congratulate him.

“Well done pal and also well done on winning boxer of the tournament.

“I’ve just got to look at the positives. This was my second ever major tournament and I’ve won a European silver medal against some of the most experienced boxers from around the world and also qualified for the World Championships in Qatar.

“The only way is up, I’m getting better every time and will keep getting better!”

He added: “Next stop Qatar for the World Championships and then the Rio 2016 Olympics!”

Great Britain did claim one gold medal after Welshman Joe Cordina beat Georgia’s Otar Eranosyan on points in the lightweight division.

GB’s other finalists – Keighley’s Muhammad Ali, Harvey Horn and Pat McCormack – had to settle for silver.

Light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi’s bronze took their tally to six medals from a team of seven fighters. Cordina had to battle against a tenacious opponent in Eranyosan who was constantly looking to box at close quarters.

But he was able to counter the Georgian’s advances to win gold on a unanimous decision.

“I think I deserved the win. He wasn’t landing clean shots on me,” Cordina said.

McCormack, 20, as well as Horn and Ali, both 19, were all boxing in their first senior European Championships.

Light-flyweight Horn and light-welterweight McCormack both succumbed to Russian opponents, while flyweight Ali’s frustrations were plain as he was awarded silver against the local top seed Daniel Asenov.

“To bring seven boxers to a tournament as difficult as this and leave with six medals, with five boxers making the final, is a fantastic achievement,” said GB Boxing’s performance director, Rob McCracken.