Two Scots in boxing gold medal bouts

October 12, 2010

Josh Taylor and Callum Johnson will fight for Commonwealth Games gold medals at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium on Wednesday, with both boxers comfortable winners of their semi-finals on Monday.

Taylor enjoyed a convincing 5-0 win over Lomalito Moala of Tongo to set up a final against a boxer he knows well, England’s Thomas Stalker.

“I can’t wait for Wednesday, for the final – bring it on,” said Taylor, the lightweight who has conceded just two points in his four fights so far.

“I’ve sparred with Thomas twice before at the GB camp down in Sheffield,” he continued. “It was really close sparring – really technical sparring – and he’s a really good fighter. I’ve got respect for him, but I think I’m going to win this fight.”

Explaining his loss of just two points in the tournament, Taylor said: “My defence has been pretty good. I’ve been working on that for a bit more than a year now. Even when I’m throwing punches, I’m watching what’s coming back, which has been helping me a lot here.”

The 19-year old won a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008, and he admitted he couldn’t have predicted that just two years later he would be fighting for a gold medal in the senior Games.

“I didn’t expect to be here in 2008,” he said. “[The Youth Games] was massive, and I was overwhelmed by the experience, by the big arenas. But I think it was a good experience because it’s set me up for this, and I’ve got used to the atmosphere. It’s helped my boxing. I’m not so nervous in the ring anymore.”

Johnson was an even more convincing winner, with Welshman Jermaine Asaire counted out in the second round, by which time Johnson had amassed eleven points to Asaire’s one.

“He’s a tough, strong boy and he’s done well to get to the semi finals, but to put him down like that, and to put in such a dominant performance, it’s given me the world of confidence,” said Johnson. “I’ve proved I’m the best in Britain, and I want to stake my claim as the Commonwealth number one on Wednesday.

“We’ve got a really strong team,” Johnson continued. “And we’ve gone in a year from decent to being able to mix it with the best in the world. I’m really proud to captain the team.

“I want to keep my feet on the ground,” he added. “I don’t want to get too excited because I don’t want silver, I want gold.”

In the final Johnson will face Northern Irishman Thomas McCarthy. “I’ve fought him before,” said Johnson. “It was about seven months ago, and he got the decision on a close fight. But seven months have gone by, I’ve done some good training, and I’m in good form, so I’m hoping I can return the favour and take that gold medal home.”

Stephen Simmons was Scotland’s only representative in the evening session, but lost 6-1 to Northern Ireland’s Steven Ward. “I’m absolutely gutted with that. I felt really tired after about a minute. It could have been down to me going down a weight a few months ago, and coming back up to heavyweight over the last three months.”

Stephen will still walk away from Delhi with a bronze medal, but says he’s not satisfied with the result. “It means nothing to me I came here for gold, but it’ll mean something to my boy Stephen. I’m disappointed, but I guess it’s a step further than last time and I’ll look forward to 2014 and I’ll take gold in my home town.”

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