Commonwealth Games 2022

Gallagher and the young talents shined in the evening session of Day 4 at the Commonwealth Games

August 1st, 2022 / Commonwealth Games 2022

The eighth session of the Commonwealth Games saw twelve amazing contests in Birmingham, including Northern Ireland’s Jude Gallagher causing the main talking point of the men’s featherweight (57kg) division. The boxers of the next generation gave outstanding performances in the evening session of Day 4.

The 18-year-old Paiva was the first winner of the evening session

Clepson Antonio Dos Santos Paiva is a teenager from Belfast who represents Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games. His opponent, Samuel Yaw Addo was a surprise addition to their national team following his loss in the National Championships but he is the most internationally experienced Ghanian in this weight class. The 18-year-old Northern Irish talent had excellent body movements and his defensive skills impressed the crowd. He landed nice counter-shots in the first and second rounds to get a tight advantage after six minutes. Paiva’s hooks worked well in all three rounds and he won this flyweight (51kg) bout by split decision.

Kiaran MacDonald eliminated Sri Lanka’s 2018 medallist

England’s Kiaran MacDonald claimed a valuable silver medal at the recent EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan two months ago and made his debut in the Commonwealth Games at Session 8. MacDonald has a lot of skill and uses his reach to win his contests. His Round of 16 opponent, Sri Lanka’s Seneviratne Bandara was a bronze medallist in the 2018 Commonwealth Games but the local hero MacDonald controlled the first round from a long distance. MacDonald calmed down in the second round, and delivered a better performance, delighting the home crowd. Bandara responded with good right-handed shots twice in the second round but MacDonald landed more punches to win their contest unanimously.

Botswana’s No.1 is a quarter-finalist in the Games once again

Botswana sent two men to the Commonwealth Games and among them was George Molwantwa, who was eliminated in the seventh session. Their best boxer, the All Africa Games winner Rajab Otukile Mahommed has a strong reputation in this event following his previous experiences. He faced Malaysia’s Muhammad Abdul Qaiyum Bin Ariffin in the last 16 of the flyweight (51kg) contest,  after the two had two international contests earlier this year. Botswana’s No.1 overcame the Southeast Asian in the attacks and landed the stronger shots in their meeting. Qaiyum occasionally landed good punches but the boxer from Botswana was better in speed, tactics and skill. Mahommed advanced to the quarter-finals in the 2018 Commonwealth Games and he repeated that performance in Birmingham too.

“I think I won all of the three rounds today and deserved to advance to the quarter-finals. This is a strong event but I have big targets,” said Botswana’s Rajab Otukile Mahommed.

Jude Gallagher stopped his English rival

Northern Ireland’s Jude Gallagher was a bronze medallist at the Budapest 2018 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships and the Commonwealth Games is his first major elite competition. The 21-year-old featherweight (57kg) boxer eliminated his first rival in the earlier stage of the Games and was mentally well-prepared against England’s Niall Farrell. The English boxer was a silver medallist already at the 2017 EUBC European Boxing Championships but he could not adapt to the rhythm of the Ulster boxer. Gallagher caught the local favourite twice in the first round and after these standing counts, the Kyrgyz referee stopped the contest. Farrell was disappointed after this unexpected RSC loss which was his second early elimination after the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships.

Teenage Al-Ahmadieh continued the Canadian winning path

Keoma Al-Ahmadieh is a 19-year-old Canadian talent who had a clear target: join his compatriots Wyatt Sanford and Keven Beausejour in the quarter-finals. The Canadian teenager faced Australia’s Charlie Senior, who joined the elite national team in 2020. Senior had good body shots but many of them were countered by the Canadian with right-handed hooks in the first round. The Canadian southpaw had good single shots in the second round from mid-range and he showed more patient boxing in that period. Al-Ahmadieh controlled the last round from his safest distance and despite Senior’s attacks in the third, the Canadian joined his teammates in the quarter-finals.

“It was a tough first contest as everyone is good here, this is not an easy Commonwealth Games. I have done the job but somehow I was behind after the first round. My coach Samir told me the scores in the breaks and I worked hard in the last round to win the contest. I was born to compete in this atmosphere,” added Canada’s teenage talent, Keoma Al-Ahmadieh.

India’s Ashish Kumar had a warm-up before the quarter-final

India’s Ashish Kumar claimed a silver medal at the Bangkok 2019 ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships and moved up to the light heavyweight (80kg) this year. The strong Indian had a massive height advantage against Niue’s Travis Tapatuetoa, and he dominated the first round in this preliminary contest. Kumar was at a different level, he used the bout as warm-up before the main contests but he could not finish this match early. The boxer from Niue is a very tough veteran, he had a great spirit in this contest and fought until the last gong against one of the gold medal favourites.

“I was confident before the contest, we planned everything before the bout and I followed these instructions. I attacked in all three rounds and counter-attacked when my opponent moved forward. My defence was good today and we already discussed what I need to do against the English boxer in my next fight,” said India’s Ashish Kumar.

Aaron Bowen is back on track

England’s Aaron Bowen was a gold medallist at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in Nassau, Bahamas five years ago as one of the top prospects in his homeland. He had to wait until this Games for his next top competition due to Benjamin Whittaker and George Crotty. The latter was not successful at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan but Bowen amazed the home crowd in his debut contest. Nigeria’s Innocent Ehwarieme is a strong boxer but Bowen had better tactics against him in the first round. The English talent dictated the tempo and landed multiple shots, managing to win this match unanimously.

Taylor Bevan gave a fantastic performance in the last bout of the session

Taylor Bevan is one of the strongest Welsh boxers in their current national team and joined the international events in 2018 at the age of 17. He moved up step by step to light heavyweight (80kg), and after his impressive opening in Birmingham, he demonstrated another world-class performance against Samoa’s Jancen Poutoa. The left hooks to the body slowed down the Samoan boxer in the first minute and Bevan followed his game plan. The Welsh boxer knocked down Poutoa with double left-handed hooks in the final stage of the first round. Poutoa is new to the weight class and was not experienced and strong enough to survive Bevan’s powerful shots.

“I am pleased with my performance against the Samoan boxer, I felt I took my time and I did not rush my work today. I will try to be relaxed in the quarter-final too and use my feet when needed. I will show patience and use the opportunity to take the medal,” said Wales’ Taylor Bevan after the contest.