Gold for Belfast's Michael Conlan

Published Saturday, 02 August 2014
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Michael Conlan has picked up Northern Ireland's second gold medal of the Commonwealth Games defeating England's Qais Ashfaq in the men's bantam weight contest.

Gold for Belfast's Michael Conlan
Michael Conlan in action against Qais Ashfaq. (© Getty)

West Belfast's Conlan came from behind after losing the first round to take both the second and third rounds in a thrilling contest.

The early stages of the bout was a scrappy affair with both men tumbling to the floor; Ashfaq the more aggressive, but the Belfast boxer matching him for speed if not accuracy.

Conlan came out in round two looking more determined and managed to impress the judges with lethal combinations to the body and head.

Entering round three, the NI fighter was ahead by one point and the crowd were willing to two fighters forward for one last effort.

Again Conlan finished strongly throwing everything at his opponent as the bell signalled the end of the contest.

The 23-year-old, from the St John Bosco club, appeared to be surprised when he was given the verdict, but he quickly beamed to his fans when he took in his achievement.

Conlan adds Commonwealth gold to his Olympic bronze at the London 2012 games.

He admitted he was riddled with self-doubt weeks before the Games because of fitness concerns.

"I have only trained for this competition for two weeks," he said. "I was out injured and only had seven spars in total.

"To come and do a job like this is phenomenal. To pick up two injuries in the competition as well and still win, I feel very proud of myself.

"Honestly, I can't believe what I came through. Two weeks before the competition, I was doubting myself. I was sparring an Australian kid and I should have been destroying him but it was close. I felt very nervous, but as soon as I got in the village and settled, I knew no-one was beating me."

Conlan added: "I thought I won the first round but I heard I lost it so I knew I had to change my tactics and push him back a bit more. It worked for me in the end. He's a talented boxer but I knew I had the heart and drive to beat him."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Spade a Spade in N. Ireland wrote (180 days ago):
Well Done guys, fabulous achievement and reflective of all your hard work and commitment! Imagine if ALL our Politicians would fight as hard for lasting peace instead of throwing the towel in and walking out of meetings? Lets dream on I guess :-)
Larry in Belfast wrote (180 days ago):
Red, white and blue - or green and white - who cares!!! Well done son. Our wee country is full of great sportsmen and women and we are proud of you all.
Iseult in NI wrote (181 days ago):
Congratulations to Michael and Paddy and of course to all our other medal winners - N Ireland is proud of you! Nice to see that our small part of the world can do so well in competition against so many other countries.
mccafferty in crumlin wrote (181 days ago):
Well done boys,what a great day for the northern Irish men and for Ireland god bless you both !
Dub in Dublin wrote (181 days ago):
Well done Michael Conlon and of coarse Paddy next stop Rio.,
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