Steve Bunce on Boxing: Signs look good for Rio as Brits live up to hype at the Commonwealth Games

The performances of of British boxers yielded much to look forward to in 2016

They fought their friends for every blood-stained inch of the ring, they had their cuts sealed by grease and, when it was over, nine boxers from the Home Nations moved a fraction closer to the Rio Olympics during Saturday’s finals.

Josh Taylor, Joe Joyce, Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Antony Fowler and Nicola Adams all added gold to the pile of glittering prizes they have collected in rings around the world during a memorable epoch for British and Irish amateur boxing; their gold medals – and those of Savannah Marshall, Charlie Flynn and Scott Fitzpatrick – should serve as the best possible sporting passport to Rio in 2016.

There were high levels of expectation attached to local idol Taylor, golden woman Adams, Barnes of Belfast and the middleweight Fowler, and they all performed when they had to. However, perhaps the best thing to happen in Glasgow is that nobody flopped, nobody fell victim to the ghostly poster campaigns of hope and hype that crushed three or more British boxers at the London Olympics.

Taylor won silver in Delhi four years ago, fell short in London and has been photographed against every conceivable Scottish backdrop during the last two years to occupy the poster-boy slot. On Friday, he beat Sam Maxwell, his English room-mate with the GB squad, in the semi-final and finished Saturday’s first session of finals with the best display of the day to beat Namibia’s Junias Jonas at light-welterweight.

“I have dreamt of getting the gold every night for two years,” said Taylor, who is still only 21. “The only medal that I could win was gold. I can relax now, take a break.”

 

Adams, once again punch and word perfect, won the first female boxing gold at the Commonwealth Games to add to her historic gold in London, but she had a difficult fight against Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh. Adams is 31, Walsh 21 and it is clear that a fearless pack of younger fighters are hunting Adams down. “I won the fight and never got the decision,” said Walsh. “The next time there will not be any doubt.”

It was left to Scottish postman Flynn, just 20 but looking about 14, to deliver at lightweight and provide the raw joy when he ended his week of four fights with gold. Flynn beat the best in the tournament, including the Northern Ireland teenager Joe Fitzpatrick in the final, to ruin the guidebook and his tears during an emotionally draining medal ceremony will long be a Glasgow memory. Flynn changed everything in the arena and his every desperate, tired effort was roared on by a crowd that transformed itself into a horde of patriotic fanatics. Incidentally, Taylor followed Flynn into the ring and by the time he had boxed the ears off Jonas, the place resembled a bear pit.

Fowler at middleweight was probably under more pressure than any other English boxer to win and in the middleweight final, he was simply too sharp for Indian veteran Vijender Singh, one of four losing finalists from India.

“Right now, it feels like a dream,” said Fowler, who has spent a lot of time in the gym with Carl Froch and it shows. “It is a long-term plan, always has been, and now the first gold is out of the way, I can start getting ready for Rio.”

The road to Rio for Fowler and the rest of Saturday’s boxers has not yet been clearly established by AIBA, the sport’s governing body.

There are two AIBA alternatives to traditional amateur boxing and oddly both seem to offer an easier passage to Rio. They each drastically move away from the qualification process that was established for Barcelona in 1992 and both the WSB, where fights take place without vests and last for a minimum of five rounds, and the APB, where fights can last as long as 10 rounds, will offer their best boxers most of the Rio spots. It remains to be seen how the WSB and APB boxers will adapt to the Olympic distance of three rounds.

News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Life and Style
The spring/summer 2015 Louis Vuitton show for Paris Fashion Week
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Associate Recrutiment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Group have been well ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence