Boxing: Team GB's Luke Campbell wins bantamweight gold medal after victory over Ireland's John Joe Nevin
Saturday 11 August 2012
Luke Campbell realised his lifetime dream as he floored Ireland's John Joe Nevin on his way to a 14-11 victory and the Olympic bantamweight title at ExCeL tonight.
Campbell landed a superb left hand counter in the final round to floor his opponent, who had beaten him in 2009 before the Hull man gained revenge with a close win in last year's World Championship semi-finals.
Campbell had received the loudest cheers on the way to the ring, but there was still a sizeable Irish contingent who were buoyed by a bright start by Nevin, who surprised his old rival by beginning on the front foot.
Nevin's tactics seemed to play into the hands of Campbell to an extent, and the Yorkshireman landed with a slick combination, and although Nevin also landed it was Campbell's sharper shots that gave him a deserved 5-3 first round lead.
Campbell was producing a textbook performance, blocking the majority of Nevin's best efforts and countering well, although the Mullingar man came on well towards the end of the round, landing a peach of an uppercut and a stretching right hand to narrow the deficit to a single point at 9-8.
Given what was at stake, it was no surprise the third round should turn into a cagey affair, Campbell landing the first two rights of note before decking Nevin with a superb stabbing left as the Irishman lunged in to throw a right hand.
Campbell's lightning counters were making the difference, and at the end of an intriguing bout there could be little doubt that the Hull man had done enough to achieve a dream he has had since he first laced on gloves.
Campbell was in tears as the verdict was announced and he accepted the congratulations of his cornermen, saying: "I'm very emotional right now. The plan was to stay calm and stick to the boxing and throw my punches down the middle."
Campbell told BBC1: "It's something I've worked for all my life and I can't believe it's here."
He dismissed the suggestion knowing Nevin so well was to his advantage.
He added: "You can look at it both ways. He knows me really well as well. So we both knew each other.
"He's a top, top fighter, a very tough fighter. It was a very difficult fight, very technical.
"He's a very strong fighter, strong at punching so I had to be aware of that.
"I had to be on my game to win and tonight I was on my game.
"I can't believe it, I appreciate all the support here and back home in Hull."
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