Four NI boxers fight for gold at Games

Four NI boxers fight for gold at Games

Four boxers from Northern Ireland – Paddy Barnes, Michaela Walsh, Michael Conlan and Joe Fitzpatrick – will fight for gold at the Commonwealth Games after winning their semi-finals on Friday, while a further five will bring home bronze.

Walsh will face Olympic champion Nicola Adams after the 21-year-old from Belfast won her women's fly semi-final in Glasgow.She beat Pinki Rani of India by split decision.Walsh said: "Months ago I said my dream was to fight Nicola Adams in the Commonwealth final and when I go to bed tonight I will dream of that gold medal hanging round my neck."Conlan also reached the final of the men's bantam competition after beating defending gold medallist from Dehli Sean McGoldrick.The Belfast man suffered a bad cut above his eye following an accidental clash of heads with the Welshman but was declared the unanimous winner after score cards were used.He said: "It is not the outcome I would have wanted."I would rather have gone the three rounds and lost all three rounds to him, he's a world-class fighter."Team captain Barnes booked his place in the light fly final after comfortably beating Fazil Juma Kaggwa of Uganda on Friday evening.The 27-year-old from Belfast won all three rounds and will defend the title he won in Delhi.Fitzpatrick was the fourth local fighter to reach a final after the 19-year-old beat Michael Alexander of Trinidad and Tobago by unanimous decision in the men's light.I’m confident I’ll be fine for the final, I’ll pass the medical and there wouldn't be a chance that I was going to miss the final. They'd have to cut my head off!Michael ConlanBarnes, Conlan, Walsh and Fitzpatrick will fight again on Saturday.Meanwhile light-welter Sean Duffy and light-heavy Sean McGlinchy had to settle for bronze medals after losing their semi-finals.Craigavon man Duffy lost all three rounds of a tough contest with Junias Jonas of Namibia, before Derry man McGlinchy was defeated by David Nyika of New Zealand.Alanna Audley-Murphy also fell to a unanimous defeat to Shelley Watts of Australia in the women's light competition, but will return to Northern Ireland with a bronze medal.There was disappointment for Ballymena man Steven Donnelly too as he lost his men's welter semi-final against Mandeep Jangra of India.And in the last of Friday's nine contests featuring Northern Ireland boxers, Derry man Connor Coyle was beaten by Vijender Vijender of India in the men's middle category.Earlier, the Team NI boxing head coach John Conlan - father of Michael Conlan - said he is confident the local fighters will go on to bring home gold medals.He said: "To me, we're one of the best nations in world boxing and this has been a good stage for boxers from Northern Ireland to show off their skills."Boxing in Northern Ireland has always been very strong - there used to be a joke that we had lots of heart but no technique. Now we have technique and heart."


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