Commonwealth Games 2014: Nicola Adams taken all the way but secures split decision
Walsh claims she was cheated of victory as the Olympic champion finds the going tougher than expected
Saturday 02 August 2014
It wasn’t meant to be that way. Nicola Adams, the poster girl of women’s boxing, was seen as a certainty to take the women’s flyweight title in the Hydro yesterday
Adams, the Olympic champion and world No 1, went into her final against Michaela Walsh as an overwhelming favourite but her opponent had other ideas.
Walsh, at 21 a decade younder than Adams, began well and fought back strongly at the end after Adams had taken control of the middle section of the fight.
Adams appeared to ease up in the closing stages, clearly confident that she had done enough in the middle rounds when a left and right combination followed by a sharp right hand had put Walsh in trouble, but the Northern Ireland woman battled right to the final bell, taking the last round and turning away arms aloft convinced that she had won.
“I wanted it more and I feel in my heart that I won it but she’s the Olympic champion and she was going to win it if it was close,” said Walsh said, who thought she had been cheated out of the gold.
“My coach knows and I know and she will know if she watches the fight again that I got it. Today is the start of my career. I came here for the gold and in my heart I know I got the gold medal. But I proved I am up at that level and I really believe that fight was mine.”
Adams thinks that what her reputation does for her is make her a target. “Everybody is coming for me now because I am the number one in the world, and I have got to expect that everybody who gets through those ropes wants to beat me,” the Yorkshirewoman said. “I think it was a really close contest but I think I did enough to win. I think Michaela is a very good talent and she will come again and we will be seeing a lot more from her in the future.”
The judges certainly saw it as close. One of them scored it for Adams, while the other two scored the fight even. Having to name a winner, one of those two gave Adams the nod.
Adams understood Walsh’s feelings Adams said: “I’ve been in that situation when I wanted to win the world title and only got silver. I worked hard for it and it just wasn’t my time but my time was at the Olympics.”
Nicola Adams kisses her Commonwealth Games gold medal The Yorkshirewoman, who has been hampered by injuries since her Olympic triumph, will need o be back to her sharpest when she goes for the world title in South Korea in November. Adams will be biding to complete a clean sweep of the major honours, having previously had to settle for a trio of world championship silver medals.
She is already has her sights set beyond that to the defence of her Olympic crown. She said: “I’m looking forward to Rio [in 2016] and I can’t wait to get going – I hope to make history again by becoming a double Olympic champion.”
After disappointment for Walsh, Northern Ireland did not have to wait long for a gold medal. Paddy Barnes retained his light-flyweight title by outpointing India’s Devendro Laishram. He produced a controlled performance from the start to claim a clear points victory and add to the title that he won in Delhi four years ago.
“That was the hardest fight of my life,” Barnes said. “I didn’t really box my best because he was non-stop. But I was too strong for him.
“I remember fighting in China in front of 13,000 Chinese guys who wanted the head punched off me, but I’ll tell you what that was unbelievable out there. The Scottish fans were great. I love fighting in places like this.”
Asked about rumours that he may be about to turn professional, Barnes said: “Whenever some promoter pays my mortgage off.”
Gold medal number two was quick in coming, thanks to a remarkable performance by Michael Conlan, who came into the ring bearing the scars of his semi-final victory. He had gone through on a technical decision over the Welshman Sean McGoldrick after their fight had been stopped due to cuts.
Conlan boxed cleverly to prevent Qais Ashfaq from re-opening the inch long gash, beating the Englishman on points in an entertaining bantamweight contest.
Ashfaq made a strong start and won the first round on two of the three judges’ cards but Conlan used his experience and well-picked shots to claw his way back into the bout.
After all the early drama, it fell to one of Scotland’s own, Charlie Flynn, a postman from Motherwell, to top the bill in terms of one liners, saying that he was “buzzing like a jar of wasps”. In his television interview after a lightweight victory over Joe Fitzpatrick from Northern Ireland, he said: “The mail man delivers once again! Commonwealth champion? I’m not used to hearing that! It will take 10 times for it to sink in.
“Sometimes you need to be awkward to beat awkwardness, that was a hard fight. I thought I was going to drop dead! The crowd was like a thunderstorm, every time you landed a punch there was a roar.
“I don’t know what is next, I will wait and see, there is a lot of funding involved in this. I’m part time. I’d like to thank everyone but especially my dad, he has been training me every day for three or four years, two hours every morning. My mum, washing all my clothes, Frank in the gym. All the work that goes on in the background, nobody really understands it.”
Scotland collected another gold medal when Josh Taylor comfortably defeated Junias Jonas of Namibia in the light-welterweight division.
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