Delhi 2010: North East boxing duo going for gold
Oct 12 2010 The Journal
NORTH East duo Bradley Saunders and Simon Vallily will be among five English boxers going for gold in Delhi tomorrow.
Stockton’s Saunders and Vallily, from Middlesbrough, both came through their semi-final bouts in the Indian capital to earn a place in tomorrow’s light-welterweight and heavyweight deciders respectively.
And they will be joined in bidding for a top rostrum place by team-mates Tom Stalker, Callum Smith and Anthony Ogogo – who beat Indian favourite Vijender Singh – as all five of England’s last-four qualifiers triumphed on a superb day for Robert McCracken’s squad.
Saunders continued to advance without fanfare, easing to a victory over experienced Mauritius opponent Louis Colin, which was far more comfortable than the final 10-7 scoreline suggested.
Saunders admitted he took his foot off the gas after heading into the final round with a 9-2 lead, and once Colin had pulled back to 9-7.
The Teessider stepped up a gear and finished by dumping him on the canvas with a straight right.
In the final, Saunders will face home favourite Manoj Kumar, but after the disappointment of missing out in the Olympics in Beijing two years ago he insisted his eyes are fixed on gold.
“I was a young lad in Beijing and the occasion got to me with so many people watching and all those cameras. I’ve learned from it and I’m used to fighting on this kind of stage. I can’t wait to get a gold medal to take back home.” Vallily made it through to the final without throwing a punch in the semi after his Ghanaian opponent Awusone Yekeni withdrew with an arm injury.
Northern Ireland’s Steven Ward, who beat Scot Stephen Simmons 6-1, stands between the North East man and gold.
Ulster will also be represented by five men going for outright victory tomorrow after Eamonn O’Kane, Paddy Barnes, Paddy Gallagher, and Thomas McCarthy all made it through to their respective finals.
Scotland qualified two boxers – Josh Taylor and Callum Johnson – and Wales still have Sean McGoldrick in with a chance of taking the competition’s ultimate prize.
Meanwhile, Ogogo milked his moment as the most unpopular man in India, waving and blowing kisses at a furious crowd who had just witnessed his dramatic and controversial win over the man they call the ‘Indian David Beckham’.
The crowd at the Talkatora Stadium was in uproar as Singh was twice penalised two points for holding in the final minute of their contest, giving Ogogo victory by 4-3.
Singh’s second warning came with just 12 seconds left on the clock and with the Indian holding a 3-2 lead, leading to an immediate protest by the Indian Boxing Federation which was quickly thrown out by the Games jury.
While the boxers have gold in their sights, shooters Kay Copland and Jen McIntosh already have theirs in the bag. They gave Scotland a flying start to the day by winning the women’s 50m rifle prone pairs.