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India suffers blow as British fighters dominate the ring

india Updated: Oct 11, 2010 16:25 IST

AFP
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India's hopes of boxing glory suffered a blow on Monday, as all three of the country's fighters lost their semi-final bouts in a first session dominated by Britain's "home nations".

Light flyweight Amandeep Singh, lightweight Jai Bhagwan and welterweight Dilbag Singh crashed out, disappointing a noisy, partisan crowd at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. All three pick up bronze medals, though, leaving four boxers from the hosts, including Indian boxing's poster boy Vijender Singh, to carry the nation's hopes in the evening session.

Topping the British wins were Northern Ireland, who saw European champion Paddy Barnes go through with Paddy Gallagher and Thomas McCarthy. Olympic bronze medallist Barnes saw off a challenge from Amandeep Singh in his bout, while Gallagher held on for a win against Dilbag Singh. McCarthy beat Kenya's 2006 bronze medallist Joshua Makonjio in the light heavyweight division and goes on to meet Callum Johnson, who is hoping to retain the light heavyweight crown for Scotland.

Barnes, who trains at the same gym that produced former WBA featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, said he was confident going into the final. But his opponent, defending champion Jafet Uotoni from Namibia, is out to stop him. "My main aim is to win the gold," said Uotoni after beating Muhammad Waseem from Pakistan 10-1.

"I want to break a new record for my country and bring back two gold medals. "I want to take back my title. It is like my wife. I don't want anyone to take my wife and if anyone tries to, I'll stop them."

Young Wales bantamweight Sean McGoldrick provided the upset of the day by beating the silver medallist from Melbourne in 2006, Louis Julie of Mauritius. The 18-year-old from Newport, who faces Manju Wanniarachchi of Sri Lanka, said he hoped the victory against the Olympic bronze medallist, proved that his training had paid off and he was on the way to becoming a world class fighter.

"I'm here for gold. I'm going to give it my best shot," he added. The teenager, who is still at school, is now guaranteed at least a silver medal in his first senior tournament and just his third international. His 2-1 points win over Julie happened when he should have been in lessons back home.

"I'm sure the teachers will excuse me," he joked. Wanniarachchi's appearance in the final comes after he secured the island nation its first Commonwealth boxing medal for 60 years on Sunday. The 30-year-old was ecstatic after his win against Botswana's Tirafolo Seoko and kissed the feet of his coach and trainer at the bell.

European silver medallist Tom Stalker, who beat India's Bhagwan, now faces Scotland's Josh Taylor, who beat Tonga's Lomalito Moala. Stalker's 10-5 win was a bad-tempered affair that saw the England fighter suffer a series of low blows. "I didn't panic when he was floating inside because I can take a body shot but not low blows. It was a real slugfest," he said.

Callum Smith, who like Stalker comes from Liverpool, also made it to the final after winning his welterweight bout against Carl Hield of The Bahamas. "It's a good day for Liverpool," said the 20-year-old, whose brothers Paul (boxing silver in 2002) and Stephen (gold in 2006) have both won Commonwealth medals. The welterweight said their experience has helped him prepare for the tournament and was happy to be facing Northern Ireland's Gallagher in the final. "I just take every fight as it comes. I take every fight as a final and that's what I've done," he said.