By Josh Graham at the NEC, Birmingham
THEY say familiarity breeds contempt and Scunthorpe slogger Gemma Richardson was happy to channel that with a convincing victory over last week’s sparring partner to kick-off her Commonwealth Games in style.
Richardson won a unanimous points decision over Scottish corporal Megan Reid who she got to grips with during a pre-Games multi-nations camp and will now face the Isle of Man’s Jade Burden in the lightweight quarter-final on her 21st birthday on Thursday.
The fact Richardson, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support, is even competing in Birmingham is a miracle in itself after an elbow injury sustained at the start of the year was meant to keep her out for the whole of 2022.
Richardson said: “I’m just happy I got the first one out the way. We both know each other very well.
“We know each other too well which sometimes is a good thing but it can make it trickier as well. I’m glad I got my win, she’s a great boxer.
“We know each other so well, we know what’s going to happen. It’s nice to have that familiar feeling and know exactly what you are going into. I know her weaknesses and she knows mine, so it was just whoever performed on the day.
“It’s such a surreal feeling knowing that three months ago I was in a sling and at that point got told I wouldn’t fight this year.
“So to come out of my first fight at the Commonwealth Games, you couldn’t ask for anything better, I’m over the moon.”
Richardson lauded a combination of spot on tactics and a raucous home crowd for helping her get over the line in a battle of the home nations on Monday night.
She said: “I think I’m just a bit quicker on my feet. I got the tactics right and I listened to the game plan. It took me a round and a bit to get into it, but once I got my feet moving that helped a lot.
“It’s amazing. That boosts you even more and it gives you that extra little push to make sure your hand is raised at the end of it.”
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