Reese Lynch makes Scottish boxing history with the team’s third gold of the Games

Reese Lynch squeezed a split decision victory over Louis Collin of Mauritius to make Scottish boxing history as the team confirmed three gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games for the first time.

The 21-year-old light-welterweight earned the verdict on all but one of the five judges’ cards to emulate his compatriots Sam Hickey and Sean Lazzerini, who won their respective bouts earlier on Sunday.

“I’ve been saying from the start that we can do brilliant things and that put a bit of pressure on me after watching both my team-mates go out there and get gold,” said Lynch, a member of the GB squad who won a World Championship medal in 2021.

“We’ve been around each other for so long and I always knew we could reach these kinds of levels. I’m so proud to be part of such a record-breaking team and now my focus switches to going to the Olympics and adding to my medal collection.”

Lynch withstood a cut in the final round and earned a verdict that did not prove universally popular with the capacity crowd at the NEC, many of whom thought the clever Mauritian had done enough to deny the Scot his historic moment.

Hickey, 22, edged an even closer middleweight final over Australia’s Callum Peters, holding off a strong comeback in the last round from his opponent, while 25-year-old Lazzerini also got a split decision verdict in his light-heavyweight final against Taylor Bevan of Wales.

“Believing in yourself and actually going in the ring and doing something is different,” said Hickey. “You’ve got to be able to do a bit of everything. I’ve shown in this tournament I can box, I can fight, I can punch a bit, I’ve got a big future and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do in the next few years.”

Sean Lazzerini also secured gold for Scotland (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA Wire)

Four years of bad luck melted away for Rosie Eccles as the Pontypool 26-year-old served up an emphatic second-round stoppage of Australia’s Kaye Scott to claim gold in the women’s light-middleweight division.

Eccles had endured a controversial split-decision defeat to England’s Sandy Ryan in the Gold Coast final four years ago and subsequently missed out on a place at the Tokyo Olympics when her body was attacked by a mystery virus and she was denied a second chance by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m always a very optimistic person, but even I started thinking I was suffering a bit of a boxing curse,” said Eccles. “I was starting to think it just wasn’t going to happen.

“Things kept coming up out of the blue – I got to the first qualifier and got attacked by a virus, then I was denied the chance to go to Tokyo. To come through all of this and win gold is just amazing.”

Eccles forced Scott, a former world medallist, to take a standing count in the opening round and piled on the pressure in the second, dealing out two more counts that convinced the referee to step in and stop the contest.

“I think I can take my silver medal out of its box now,” added Eccles. “I’ve kept it there for four years, even when I visit school, but now I can say I will get it out because it’s a part of my story, and I can look on it with pride.”

Four years of hard work paid off for Rosie Eccles (Peter Byrne/PA)

(PA Wire)

Victory was all the more impressive for Eccles, who is small for a light-middleweight, and will benefit more from the equivalent category at the Paris Olympics, where the upper weight limit is four kilograms lighter.

“Paris is definitely the target now and I will be more powerful at the lighter weight,” added Eccles. “I’m always quite humble, but I think my time has come. You haven’t seen the best of me yet.”

Leamington heavyweight Lewis Williams won England’s first boxing gold medal with a unanimous decision win over Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali of Samoa, but both Demie-Jade Resztan and Kiaran MacDonald had to settle for silver, losing to Indian pair Nitu Ghanghas and Amit Panghal, respectively.

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