Day seven in the Big Brother bubble of the Talkatora boxing arena and the eviction of Amir Khan's kid brother proved to be a sideshow. Haroon Khan was no match for his flyweight semi-final opponent, losing 9-3 to Suranjoy Mayengbam, the Indian favourite in the 52kg division.
After he headed for the exit door, bitterly complaining about his treatment by the England selectors, Anthony Ogogo took centre stage for the big drama of the night. The Lowestoft lad who once appeared in the Big Brother spin-off contest Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, faced the pin-up boy of Indian boxing in the middleweight semi-finals.
Vijender Singh, the world No 1 in the division, has been dubbed "the Indian David Beckham". He was 3-0 up in the final round when he was given two public warnings for some rough-house holding. That gave Ogogo a 4-3 victory without having landed a scoring blow.
The home crowd howled in disapproval. An Indian protest was lodged but overturned. "He's the Indian Beckham and I'm his Achilles' heel," Ogogo proclaimed, after milking the jeers on his way out of the arena. "I've beaten him. I've toppled him. I can't believe it. I'm through to the final. I'm looking forward to winning the gold for England."
As Khan headed for the exit, denied a shot at the title but with the consolation of a bronze medal, he went out of the tournament kicking and screaming – metaphorically, at any rate. Still piqued that he had been overlooked by his homeland and been obliged to compete instead for the land of his father – fighting for Pakistan under the name Haroon Iqbal – the 19-year-old Lancastrian launched a verbal tirade at Rob McCracken, England's head coach.
"There's not one British boxer in my weight category that's going to get a medal now, so I think I've proved my point to the selectors," Khan said. "I read in the media that Rob McCracken didn't choose me because I wasn't good enough but I don't think he's watched any of my bouts. I'd love to see him right now and say to him, 'Look, it's in your face now. I've got a medal and I should have got that medal for England. I've proved you guys wrong."
McCracken responded: "For me, it's not an issue. It's about results and when you don't achieve things in domestic competition, you can't go on to the elite level. For any boxer out there, the door's always open and it would have been open to Haroon Khan."
The results in the Talkatora ring yesterday by McCracken's England squad spoke for themselves. Five English fighters earned places in the finals, which will be contested tomorrow. Five Northern Irish boxers also progressed, plus two Scots and one Welshman.
Away from boxing, England struck gold in the day's last event, courtesy of Ellen Falkner and Amy Monkhouse in the final of the lawn bowls pairs. There was gold for Scotland at the shooting range, Kay Copland and Jen McIntosh winning the 50m rifle prone pairs.Reuse content