Jonas Junias Jonas and Reese Lynch won their second contests at the Commonwealth Games
July 31st, 2022 / Commonwealth Games 2022
The Namibian titleholder of the Commonwealth Games, Jonas Junias Jonas, had a more difficult contest than he expected today but he marched to the quarter-finals after winning his second boxing match in Birmingham.
There are 231 boxers, including 59 women, competing in the Commonwealth Games and these female and male participants represent 55 nations across five Confederations. Sixteen champions will be crowned on the final day of competition on 7 August.
India’s Nikhat Zareen stopped her opponent in the third round
India’s Nikhat Zareen achieved a gold medal at the IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Istanbul two and half months ago and she moved down to the flyweight (50kg) to compete at the Commonwealth Games. Her first opponent was Mozambique’s Helena Ismael Bagao, a 23-year-old talent, who is an African zonal champion. Zareen slowed down her opponent with body shots and she kept Bagao at distance with her jabs. The referee delivered a ten count in the third round after Zareen dropped Bagao with a hard right hand. Bagao was unable to answer the count, as the referee stopped the contest before the final bell. Mozambique’s women’s boxing is developing at a fast rate, but Bagao is still considered inexperienced compared to Zareen.
“I am very satisfied to win my first bout in the Commonwealth Games against Bagao. I am looking forward to my next contest against the Welsh boxer. My coaches and I will create a strong gameplan for the quarter-finals. I am proud to represent my country in this Commonwealth Games and I am ready to take the gold medal back to Inida,” said India’s Nikhat Zareen after the bout.
Namibia’s titleholder had a tough second battle in Birmingham
Namibia’s Jonas Junias Jonas is the current titleholder at the Commonwealth Games and after nine years of international experience, he is a star in the light welterweight weightclass (63.5kg). He started the first round with impressive combinations and used his jab effectively, but Bahamas’ Rashield Williams was highly competitive. The experienced Williams opened the second round with quick attacks and had an amazing comeback in that period against one of the gold medal favourites. Jonas utilised his lateral movement in the third round and landed superb right-handed uppercuts to finish the bout on top.
“I performed very well in the first and last rounds of the fight. My opponent did his best, but I am the better boxer. I switched my stance and controlled the distance to win this contest. I believe the next bout could be easier for me,” said Namibia’s Jonas Junias Jonas.
Reese Lynch fought back to advance to the quarter-finals
Reese Lynch achieved Scotland’s first ever medal, a bronze at the IBA Men’s Boxing World Championships in Belgrade last October. He faced veteran Indian star, Shiva Thapa in the Round of 16 in Birmingham. It was a very good opening round of action, as both fighters set out for an early finish. Thapa’s reactions were quicker to start the fight, which led to him taking the first round on all of the judges’ scorecards. Lynch came out in the second round in determined and caught Thapa with two nice jabs to set the tone for the round. The contest ended in a 4:1 decision in the favour of the Scotsman and kept his chances alive of winning another medal for his country.
Wyatt Sanford won his second contest in Birmingham
Canada sent four male boxers to the Commonwealth Games, including Wyatt Sanford, the most experienced member of the delegation. He eliminated his first opponent after outclassing him in every round on Day 1 and he continued his strong form against Lesotho’s Qhobosheane Mohlerepe on the third day of boxing. The Canadian southpaw had a quick start in the second round, as his powerful hooks stopped the African boxer’s attacks, allowing him to take a big lead on the scorecards. His punches from mid-range and short distance stumbled Mohlerepe, who struggled to find his timing throughout the contest. Sanford slowed down in the last round, he landed relatively fewer punches and moved around the ring as he knew that his performance in the first two periods was enough to advance to the quarter-finals.
“I followed the game plan very well, I was more active and my combinations worked strongly. I avoided any injuries and I sat back in the third round. I did not get hit with any big or clean shots so looking good for the quarter-finals,” said Canada’s Wyatt Sanford after the contest in the competition venue.
Uganda’s Joshua Tukamuhebwa is a surprise quarter-finalist
Australia’s Billie Polkinghorn is an experienced 26-year-old boxer, but he was in the shadow of their No.1, Harry Garside. This is his first Commonwealth Games, but he knocked out his opening round rival and had an amazing start against Uganda’s Joshua Tukamuhebwa in the Round of 16. The power of the Australian boxer dominated the first round when Polkinghorn caught the Ugandan talent near the ropes with multiple shots. The taller Tukamuhebwa tried to use his distance better in the second round and he kept the Aussie boxer at long range with his jabs. Both boxers had good work in the third round, but Polkinghorn’s quality shots were not enough against the Ugandan, whose jabs decided the preliminary bout.
Lewis Richardson won an unexpectedly tight contest
England’s Lewis Richardson achieved a silver medal at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan, Armenia, and he is one of the main gold medal contenders at the middleweight category (75kg). Uganda’s newcomer Yusuf Nkobeza was an aggressive opponent for Richardson in the first three minutes and caused several uncomfortable situations for the English boxer. The Ugandan continued his pressure at the beginning of the second round, but Richardson increased his tempo and found Nkabeza’s weak points. The second was a better round for the Englishman and equalled the scorecards after the first six minutes of action. Richardson had the speed advantage in the third round which was decisive between them in Birmingham today.
“I am very pleased to get the win against a strong opponent from Uganda. Amazing atmosphere in the arena, proud to represent my country in a home Games. Dropped the first round before winning the second and third rounds to gain the victory. I’m looking forward to my next contest on Wednesday,” said England’s Lewis Richardson in the competition venue.
Adeyinka Benson won the Western African battle at middleweight
Ghana and Nigeria are both traditional African boxing nations and there is a huge rivalry between them in the major championships. Ghana’s Abubakari Kwesi Quartey had a height disadvantage against Nigeria’s Adeyinka Benson but he had superb quick and powerful combinations in the first round. The Ghanaian had dynamic attacks and landed the stronger shots but Benson could fight from a safe distance in most of the first and second rounds. The Nigerian finished the second round with a nice shot near the corner of the ring on his way to securing a crucial victory in the West African battle.