Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan take gold in Glasgow
Belfast fighters win titles at Commonwealth Games, Fitzpatrick has to settle for silver
Gold medalist Paddy Barnes of Northern Ireland poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Light Fly (49kg) Final in Glasgow. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
England’s Qais Ashfaq (right) and Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan during the Men’s Bantam (56kg) Final in Glasgow. Photo Peter Byrne/PA Wire.
Paddy Barnes has again stamped his authority on the on the men’s light flyweight division as he defended his Commonwealth title to claim gold in Glasgow this afternoon.
The Belfast fighter, a two-time Olympic bronze medallist had breezed through his earlier fights but was facing a more obdurate opponent in today’s final, with India’s Devendro Laishram intent of muscling him out of his comfort zone.
Barnes admitted afterwards that whatever game plan he had went out the window in a bruising first round but despite shipping some big shots, he edged ahead on all three judges scorecards.
Laishram tired visibly in the second, with Barnes able to up the tempo when required and his industry was again rewarded by the judges and although the third was a closer affair, Barnes emerged unscathed to win a second Commonwealth gold.
“It was a very tough fight,” Barnes told the BBC after the contest. “He was very strong and wiry. The game plan went out the window, I just got stuck in. But I still won.
“if you watch the first rounds of fights for the last five years, 90-95 per cent of winners win the first round. So the first round was key to win.
“That was the hardest fight of my life,” Barnes added. “I didn’t really box my best because he was non-stop. But I was too strong for him.
“I remember fighting in China in front of 13,000 Chinese guys who wanted the head punched off me, but I’ll tell you what that was unbelievable out there. “The Scottish fans were great. I love fighting in places like this.”
Asked about rumours he may be about to turn professional, Barnes said: “When ever some promoter pays my mortgage off.”
Michael Conlan made it two gold medals for Northern Ireland when he outpointed England’s Qais Ashfaq in an entertaining bantamweight brawl.
Ashfaq made a strong start and won the first round on two of the three judges’ cards but Conlan used his experience and well-picked shots to claw back into the bout.
Conlan had edged through to the final on a technical decision after his fight against Welshman Sean McGoldrick was stopped in the second round due to cuts. But the inch-long gash just above Conlan’s left eye did not reopen despite the come-forward nature of the contest, and the Northern Irishman made sure of his place on top of the podium.
And Scotland’s Charlie Flynn was crowned lightweight champion after a fiery win over Northern Ireland’s Joe Fitzpatrick.
Flynn’s accurate, front-foot style enabled him to keep the rangier Fitzpatrick at bay and claim Scotland’s first gold medal of the Games.
The 20-year-old had caused something an upset by coming from behind to outpoint Welshman Joe Cordina in the Friday semi-finals.
And despite sustaining a cut over his right eye early in the fight, Flynn boxed with maturity to control the fight throughout and thoroughly deserve his unanimous points win.
Flynn, who jumped onto a corner post in celebration at the final bell, looked overwhelmed when the decision was announced.