Commonwealth Games successes for female English boxers

PUBLISHED: 11:00 29 April 2020

England's Nicola Adams (right) on the podium after her victory over Northern Ireland's Michaela Walsh in the Women's Fly (48-51kg) final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

England's Nicola Adams (right) on the podium after her victory over Northern Ireland's Michaela Walsh in the Women's Fly (48-51kg) final at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

PA Archive/PA Images

With the inclusion of women’s boxing for the first time at the London 2012 Olympics, the Commonwealth Games Federation followed suit at their 2014 Games in Glasgow.

England's Nicola Adams prepares to fight against Nigeria's Oluwatoyin at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in GlasgowEngland's Nicola Adams prepares to fight against Nigeria's Oluwatoyin at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow

As with London 2012, only three weights were included – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight – and bouts were over 4x2 minute rounds.

England won two gold medals, thanks to the amazing Nicola Adams at flyweight and middleweight sensation Savannah Marshall.

Lightweight Natasha Jonas was expected to do very well, but lost in the first series bouts to Australia’s eventual gold medalist Shelley Watts.

Adams therefore became the first woman to win a gold medal in boxing at the Commonwealths and had a relatively smooth ride to the final, winning her three bouts via unanimous 3-0 decisions against Oluwatoyin Oladeji of Nigeria, Sri Lanka’s Erandi de Silva and Canada’s Mandy Bujold.

The final against Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh was a very tight and close affair and two judges couldn’t separate the pair, while the third judge sided with Adams.

The winner at the these Games was the one who won most rounds and hence she claimed the gold medal via a split decision.

Marshall also had a fairly comfortable ride to her final with three unanimous points victories (3-0) over India’s Pooja Rani, Botswana’s Peal Morake and Edith Ogoke from Nigeria.

In the final she won gold with a split 2-1 decision over Canada’s Ariane Fortin in a very tight and close contest.

Both Adams and Marshall were truly great boxers, probably at the peak of their amateur careers when they both triumphed in Glasgow; so great credit goes to the two women who ran them so close in their respective finals.

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The Commonwealth Games do not really provide the depth and quality that boxers normally come up against at Olympic, World and maybe some European settings, but nevertheless they remain a very respected competition and medalists have to perform well to succeed.

Fast forward four years to Australia’s Gold Coast and it proved another successful hunting ground for English women, with two gold medals and one silver medal.

There were six weight divisions opposed to three in Glasgow and rounds were now over 3x3 minutes and the competition was scored under the 10-point “must” system.

Flyweight Lisa Whiteside won gold after two early close encounters with India’s Pinki Rani and Aussie Taylah Robertson, winning both via 3-2 verdicts before a 5-0 “shutout” of Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul in the final.

Lightweight Paige Murney brought home silver after easing past Laizani Soma from Papua New Guinea and Northern Ireland’s Alanna Nihell with 5-0 scorelines and earning a 4-1 semi-final victory over Nigerian Yetunde Odunuga.

However, Australia’s Anja Stridsman took the gold defeating Murney 5-0 in their final showdown.

Welterweight Sandy Ryan claimed our second gold medal when outscoring Welsh girl Rosie Eccles by a 3-2 margin in their final.

On her way to her final success, Ryan dismissed India’s Lovlina Borgohain 3-2 and Canada’s Marie-Jeanne Parent 4-1.

Our only other competitor, middleweight Natasha Gale, lost first time out (5-0) to Australia’s eventual silver medalist Caitlin Parker.

We cannot close without mentioning Indian superstar Mary Kom, who took gold in the light-flyweight category to add to her avalanche of medals.

Women’s boxing is a very new introduction to the Commonwealth Games and no doubt as it becomes more entrenched in this tournament, more boxers will become involved, which in turn should help drive up standards and increase competition and probably lead ultimately to the introduction of additional weight categories.

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