TEAM NI: Boxers remain on medal course

Northern Ireland's Sean McGlinchy (blue) in action against Jamaica's Cheavan Clarke
Northern Ireland's Sean McGlinchy (blue) in action against Jamaica's Cheavan Clarke

The winning streak continued for Northern Ireland’s boxers at the Commonwealth Games on Sunday night.

There were victories for Ruairi Dalton, Joe Fitzpatrick, Sean Duffy and Sean McGlinchy who all secured their places in the quarter-finals.

Belfast flyweight Dalton defeated Tanzania’s Ezra Paul Mwanjwango by unanimous decision.

He will fight Australia’s Andrew Moloney on Tuesday.

Speaking about his second successive unanimous decision of the Games, Dalton said: “That’s something that gives me a lot of confidence. It’s another step closer to a gold medal and I’m certainly in it to win it.

“You don’t get much of a break, you are fighting every two days but that’s boxing for you, nothing is easy.

“I’m happy with my performance, I tired a wee bit at the end but I stuck to the plan.

“Everyone is trying to keep the momentum going and for such a small country we are doing really well.”

There was joy for Fitzpatrick as he beat Lesotho’s Qhobosheane Mohlerepe in lightweight last 16 by split decision.

He will fight Kenya’s Okongo Nicholas Okoth in the quarter finals.

“I was a bit rusty. I got a bye so I was hanging around for a few days just itching to get in the ring,” he said.

“You get into it quickly, though. It’s brilliant to be in the final eight of the Commonwealth Games and I can’t wait to get going again.

“It was a good fight but he was a very dirty fighter. I was happy with my performance and the win and the atmosphere was brilliant but I was able to stay in the zone.”

The 19-year-old, who is the youngest of Team NI’s boxing team, said: “I might only be 19 but George Best was younger than that when he played in front of big crowds so it’s no big deal.

“It can only get better for me.”

Duffy took on Tanzania’s Gaudence Fabiani Pius, winning his fight by split decision.

He faces Malaysia’s Akyazlan Khir Azmi.

“Yesterday was the hard one. They call it ring rust. The first fight you have to get used to the surroundings and used to the crowd, it takes a lot out of you.

“We had to focus on the job at hand today and luckily it is onwards and upwards,” said the boxer.”

He added: “Our coaching team has got everything covered so there’s no danger of us not being fully prepared when we get in the ring. We proved that tonight.”

After a slow start, boxer McGlinchy won his heavyweight contest against Jamaica’s Cheavan Clarke by split decision.

He will fight Kenya’s Ajowi Elly Ochola in the quarter-finals.

“After round one, the coaches had to wake me up a bit and say get your boxing shoes on, but in the second and third I came out and showed heart and true sportsmanship.

“I feel happy with what I’ve done tonight apart from the first round and I’m going to bed a happy man tonight,” said McGlinchy.

However, there was disappointment for Delhi Silver medalist Steven Ward earlier in the day after he lost out on his first fight in the heavyweight division against England’s Warren Baister.

“I’m just gutted. It was a tough fight and I felt it could have gone either way but I’ve no one to blame but myself. It wasn’t the coaches fault and it wasn’t to do with my training, it was the last two rounds,” said Ward.

“I would have changed a lot, I would have been busier and a couple of times I was trying to fight when I didn’t really have to.”