252 boxers from 46 nations are fighting for final glory in the Commonwealth Games, and the first competition day of the boxing tournament delivered two exciting sessions in Glasgow.
Twenty nine bouts took place on the first day of action, where Scotland’s 19-year-old Reece McFadden shocked Wales’ two-time EUBC European Champion and WSB star Andrew Selby in the bout of the day at the Flyweight class (52 kg).
Bout of the day
Wales’ top boxer Andrew Selby was the biggest gold medal contender of the Flyweight class (52 kg) in Glasgow, especially considering his undefeated World Series of Boxing record, his silver medal at the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, and after winning the last two editions of the EUBC European Continental Championships.
His opponent was Scotland’s Reece McFadden, who only joined the national elite squad in January following his successful junior and youth career.
The 19-year-old boxer started the fight better against the number one ranked Selby, and took the lead after the first three minutes of the world class fight.
Selby changed his tactics in the second round, adding more aggression into his attacks in an attempt to put pressure on the young Scottish hope.
Unfortunately for Selby he received two warnings in the final frame due to mouth guard issues, and therefore the first huge surprise of the Commonwealth Games was delivered by the aggressive Reece McFadden, as he won the bout via unanimous decision.
The host nation’s teenage hope advanced to the next round following his triumph, and he will now believe that anything is possible in his home Games.
Team of the day
The Kenyan boxing delegation started very well on the first competition day in Glasgow, as four of their competitors advanced to the next round of the Games.
Their previous Commonwealth Games silver medallist Benson Gicharu Njangiru did not give Guyana’s Imran Khan any chances in the Bantamweight class (56 kg), and his next opponent will be Nigeria’s Sikiru Ojo in the last 16.
Kenya’s rising star Rayton Nduku Okwiri won the Lion’s Cup in Sri Lanka this year, and he triumphed over Mauritius’ 21-year-old Merven Clair in Glasgow.
Their Flyweight class (52 kg) number one Simon Mulinge Nzioki continued the winning path against Namibia’s tough Immanuel Shapaka.
Kenya’s fourth boxer in action on Day 1 was Commonwealth Champion Elly Ajowi Ochola, who was experienced enough to beat Botswana’s Thabang Motsewabeng at the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg).
Surprises of the day
New Zealand’s AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers silver medallist Bowyn Morgan began boxing relatively late at the age of 15, but he has now established himself as one to watch in the sport.
A Jameson Belt winner in New Zealand in 2012, which is presented to the most scientific boxer of the year, Morgan was not the favourite against Scotland’s National Champion Lewis Benson who competed in the last edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
The southpaw Kiwi boxer knocked down his European opponent en route to an impressive victory.
Uganda’s veteran Mike Sekabembe met with Barbados’ Emmanuel Anderson who recently returned to the world of boxing after a break.
Anderson was named the Barbados Sports Personality of the Year 2006 after he achieved a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.
The 34-year-old Ugandan soldier took no notice of his opponents impressive reputation however, and was able to beat the Caribbean boxer in their Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) contest.
Nigeria’s Efe Ajagba is relatively unknown at international level, as he has only competed in national level events before the Commonwealth Games, but despite his lack of experience the 20-year-old Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) boxer was able to beat Tonga’s AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers silver medallist Uaine Fa.
Ajagba knocked down his Tongan rival in the opening round, and that moment determined the further course of the bout.
Ones to watch
Northern Ireland’s London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist 22-year-old Michael Conlan is one of the biggest favourites of the Bantamweight class (56 kg), and he started his competition in against Nauru’s Commonwealth Youth Games competitor Matthew Martin.
Nauru is a tiny island in the Micronesian region of the Oceania continent, and despite a total population of just 10,000, three boxers have been sent from the country to the Commonwealth Games.
The Northern Irish boxer knocked down his rival twice in the first two rounds, but Martin was tough enough to fight until the final bell.
Conlan has got great expectations for Glasgow, and got off to a good start in his gold medal quest.
South Africa’s All Africa Games bronze medallist and African Cup runner-up Thulani Mbenge took up boxing at the age of 12, and started his competition against Samoa’s AIBA Oceanian Olympic Qualifiers bronze medallist Henry Tyrell.
The South African Welterweight class (69 kg) boxer opened with quick combinations and produced the better skills in the fight.
Mbenge won every round against his rival, and advanced to the next stage of the Commonwealth Games.
Quote of the day
“To be honest I felt a bit flat during the bout especially in the opening round however I felt myself get better throughout the contest and got the win. My tactic was to press the attack but still maintain good defence and not get hit by his counter-attacks. I am always satisfied with a win, I just feel I could do a bit of a better performance,” commented his first triumph Australia’s National Champion Joseph Goodall who advanced to the quarter-finals at the Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg).
The second day of the preliminaries has been scheduled in boxing tournament in Glasgow on Saturday, where the 49 kg, 60 kg, 64 kg and 75 kg weight class boxers will be in action.
The most anticipated bout of Day 2 is scheduled in the opening contest asEngland’s teenager star Pat McCormack meetswith Wales’ World Combat Games silver medallist Joseph Cordina which will be a cracking contest in the Lightweight class (60 kg).