Commonwealth Games 2014: Michael Conlan proves to be a cut above Sean McGoldrick despite bloody bout

The Belfast boxer will have to pass a medical first before competing in the final

Michael Conlan from Belfast reached tomorrow’s final of the bantamweight division but will have to pass a medical in the morning after a wayward head left an ugly gash high above his right eye.

Conlan is one of the finest boxers in the tournament and was coasting, even conserving energy, against the champion from Delhi four years go, Wales’ Sean McGoldrick, when the pair clashed and blood started to flow; the ringside doctor and the referee both inspected the wound before the fight was called off more than two minutes into round two.

There was a moment of confusion as Conlan’s cornermen worked on the cut and nobody seemed certain about the rules concerning cuts because this is the first Commonwealth Games without head guards for men since the Edinburgh Games in 1986.

The scores were totalled and Conlan was a clear winner on points and will in theory meet England’s Qais Ashfaq tomorrow afternoon.


“They will have to cut my head off to keep me out of the final,” said Conlan.

He later had the gash sealed by glue, which is legal, but the substance will have to be removed before he fights Ashfaq this afternoon.

Ashfaq will open the wound with his first jab and that means that Conlan, a bronze-medal winner at the Olympics in London two years ago, will have to start at a furious pace. The organising body in charge of what was once called amateur boxing has promised a hasty review into the recent decision to drop head guards.Conlan will be hoping that the doctor this morning is understanding of his desires and not scared of a little blood being splashed all over the ring.

England’s Nicola Adams lost concentration in the second round of her flyweight semi-final before easily bullying Canada’s Mandy Bujold in rounds three and four to win with a comfortable decision. The Olympic champion looks even more controlled and settled here than she did in the east London ring when she won gold. Tomorrow Adams will have to beat Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh and it will not be easy. I expect Adams to need a big last round to take the inaugural Commonwealth gold for woman.

The flags, the tartan clothing and assorted kilts could not help local idol Reece McFadden as he lost a disputed decision to Australia’s Andrew Moloney in one of the flyweight semi-finals. McFadden had already beaten the tournament’s best two flyweights, but Moloney’s cleaner punches influenced the judges and ended McFadden’s improbable journey.

At light-welterweight Josh Taylor, who fought for Britain at the London Olympics but has been the poster boy of Scottish boxing since that glorious summer, had to overcome his friend Sam Maxwell. It was, as expected, a tight, tense contest and when it was over Taylor fully justified the burden of the hype surrounding him by winning 3-0 on points.

After Taoriba Biniati, the woman from Kiribati who had never fought in a boxing ring before, had her first official fight the other day in Glasgow, the light-welterweight from Namibia, Junias Jonas, was the perfect antidote.

Jonas was boxing for the fourth time in Glasgow and he looked classy in easily beating Northern Ireland’s Sean Duffy. Taylor against Jonas could be the fight of the day.

There was a walkover for English super-heavyweight Joe Joyce, a part-time diving instructor from Putney, when Uganda’s Mike Sekabembe failed the medical.

In the other semi-final Australia’s Joe Goodhall was too busy for Nigeria’s impressive looking Efe Ajagba, who often resembled a statue, and won on points. In Edinburgh 28 years ago Lennox Lewis won the first ever Commonwealth Games super-heavyweight title and he was, trust me, considered a bit wild and reckless.

Amir Khan calls for the return of headguards

Two-time boxing world champion Amir Khan has weighed in to the debate over the absence of headguards in the men’s boxing at the Commonwealth Games.

Khan, who never fought at the Games but won Olympic silver, argued that headguards would be “much safer for the fighters” despite the International Boxing Association insisting otherwise.

Medical research, according to AIBA officials, showed that headguards meant boxers sustain more head shots, thereby leading to a higher risk of concussion and brain damage longer term.

But Khan raised fears about the number of cuts sustained by fighters during the competition and called for an immediate rethink.

Khan, who is set for his next professional fight in the first two weeks of December, against an as yet unnamed opponent, said: “I think headguards need to come back, especially when you have fighters fighting several times in a week and might get cut on the first day. They might be favourite to win the title and have a head clash.

“I would be looking at health and safety. I don’t think knockouts happen so much especially in the high level as the best are fighting the best, but it [headguards] would be much safer for the fighters,” he added.