Tuesday 12 December 2017

Barnes bags gold

Paddy Barnes and Paddy Gallagher gave Northern Ireland their first Commonwealth Games boxing gold medals since 1994 in Delhi on Wednesday.

Barnes, the Olympic bronze medallist and reigning European champion, fell behind in a tight light-flyweight opener against Namibia's Jafet Uutoni, but flung back a right hand to level and stabbed out two more straight rights to hold a 3-1 lead after round one.

The Belfast fighter established control in round two and headed into the final three minutes with a 5-3 lead, which became an 8-4 victory

A flurry of uppercuts gave welterweight Gallagher a 4-1 lead over Callum Smith, but the England youngster hit back through a string of big left hooks to head into the final round all square at 5-5. The action remained tight until a series of unanswered right hands allowed Gallagher to triumph 11-6.

Liverpool lightweight Tom Stalker added a Commonwealth Games gold medal to his silver at this year's European Championship with a 11-3 win over Scottish teenager Josh Taylor.

Rangy Stalker continued the stunning form he had showed through the Games as he picked out an early lead but Taylor's more rugged responses paid off as two wide rights brought him back to level after round one.

Stalker opened up at the start of round two, a superb right counter launching him into a 4-2 lead and after an excellent, patient round of counter-punching Stalker had established a 6-3 lead to take into the last and eased to victory.

There was better news for Scotland as Callum Johnson romped past Belfast bartender Thomas McCarthy 8-1 to claim light-heavyweight gold and end Northern Ireland's gold-rush.

McCarthy was left with a bloodied nose after the first round, and Johnson seized his chance by opening up a decisive 6-1 lead ahead of the decider.

Newport 18-year-old Sean McGoldrick had to settle for silver after an agonising countback loss to Sri Lanka's Manju Wanniarachchi after the score was level at 7-7 in normal time.

McGoldrick started well and established a 3-1 lead only for his compact opponent to hit back to level by the end of the first, but a brilliant counter-attacking right by the Welshman midway through the second restored his advantage.

Wanniarachchi dragged the score level with a left but a right hook in response by the Welshman, clearly undaunted by the big occasion, helped him nudge back into a 6-5 lead heading into the final round.

As the last-round action got increasingly wild the Sri Lankan landed two big right hooks to go ahead 7-6. McGoldrick fired back to level with half a minute remaining to force the score to countback.

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