A new star was born and an old one vowed to keep fighting the brave fight as Australian boxing found comfort in its silver lining on finals day.
Adelaide’s Callum Peters announced himself as a fighter to be reckoned with despite his narrow defeat in the Commonwealth Games’ fight of the tournament, beaten for middleweight gold by Scot Sam Hickey in a nine-minute, toe-to-toe epic on Sunday.
And Kaye Scott vowed to fight on to the Olympics after she was handed the first stoppage defeat of her distinguished career by her ruthless nemesis, Wales’ Rosie Eccles, in the light-middleweight showdown.
Scott is the oldest member of the boxing team at 38 and will be 40 by the time of the Paris Olympics.
But the colorful 19-year-old Peters is in the infancy of what looks set to be a career full of pyrotechnic excitement, if his dazzling showdown with Hickey is any indication.
He was edged out on a 3-2 points decision, although many ringside observers fancied he deserved the verdict.
In a rare old slugfest, with the pair standing toe-to-toe and landing crushing blows for plenty of the fight, Peters clearly won the third round and looked the stronger of the pair at the end, having landed the biggest shots.
If Malaysian judge Maslan Amzah had given Peters the final round as his four colleagues did, the teenager would have won.
He took his defeat philosophically, though, warmly congratulating Hickey even though he felt the more accurate Scot had gotten away with using his head liberally during the fight.
“The last round, I thought I won, but stuff happens,” shrugged Peters, whose eight siblings were watching back home in Adelaide.
“I got a few headbutts throughout the rounds, surprised he didn’t get told off. But it’s my first international, I’m young, 19. Got a couple of elbows on the neck – but you have to learn from it, mate .
“But at least I came and showed everyone who I was, and I’m very excited for the future.
“Going pro’s definitely a possibility, but later down the track. Another Comm Games would be good – get that Comm Games gold back! Definitely, I can win these tournaments.”
Earlier, Scott’s hopes of winning the Games gold to cap her distinguished, pioneering career ended painfully.
Australia’s first lady of boxing once again had her ambitions ruined by Eccles, who’d beaten her in the welterweight semi-final on the Gold Coast four years ago.
More decisively this time in the 70kg light-middleweight division, Eccles forced a second round stoppage, the referee having seen enough after giving the veteran a third standing count following another flurry of unanswered blows from Eccles.
“It didn’t eventuate the way I’d planned in my head. It was kind of like an outer body experience, I just don’t think I was there in the moment,” shrugged Scott.
“That’s competitive sport – tonight wasn’t quite my night and Rosie was bang on.
“I’ve never been stopped before, but I do understand (the referee’s decision). But it made it harder to swallow.
“It’s hard but I think I was taken aback with the emotions yesterday of realizing what I’ve done and being proud of myself.
“So, although this is disappointing, I can see that a silver at the Comm Games is pretty amazing.”