By Andy Baber
Scotland’s boxers made it a super Sunday in the ring as Sam Hickey, Sean Lazzerini and Reese Lynch all delivered on their potential to win Commonwealth Games gold medals.
Middleweight Hickey kicked off the gold rush with a narrow split-decision victory over Australian fighter Callum Peters, with the Dundee dynamo winning 3-2 on the judges' scorecards.
The 22-year-old took the opening round on three of the judges’ scorecards and impressed again in the second, although he had a nervy wait after being put under pressure in the last.
“Believing in yourself, going in the ring, and producing is different. You always need to believe in yourself and have full confidence in yourself,” said Hickey.
“I have been short in finals a few times now, so to finally break through that barrier and go to the final and get it done today, it is a huge break for me. I am so happy, especially on such a big stage at a home Commonwealth Games. This is my moment. It is crazy.
Reflecting on the strength of Scottish boxing, he added: “Scottish boxing is flying now. The Scottish programme of Craig McEvoy and Mike Keane are more than just coaches to me.
“They have had a big impact on my life and to represent them here, this isn't just my gold medal, it's their gold medal, my family's gold medal, and everybody’s who has had a part to play.”
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Lazzerini was even more impressive in his dismantling of great Welsh hope Taylor Bevan in their highly anticipated light heavyweight contest, securing gold with a 4-1 split decision.
The 25-year-old from Glasgow never looked in trouble against the man many considered to be the favourite and revealed he had already planned a juicy steak for his post-fight meal.
“It is just surreal. I now just want to see my family and friends and have a nice bite to eat. I don't need to worry about weight now, thank God. Then I’ll go back to Glasgow and chill,” he said.
“It was a good fight. I didn’t think he was going to be at his game. I thought he was going to be like my last two opponents, trying to move away from me and trying to run away.
“It is no secret that I have got power and can knock people out. He was going for it, he never hurt me at all, I can take a shot. He kept coming, he is quick and strong, but I could feel that I was weakening him with the body shots, and we got the win.”
Lynch completed a hat-trick of gold medals for Scotland, with the 21-year-old coming through his light welterweight showdown with Mauritian boxer Louis Richarno Colin to take gold.
The often-fractious contest ended with boos ringing around the NEC as some questioned the 4-1 decision in Lynch’s favour - not that the Fauldhouse fighter cared on a historic night for Scotland.
“I’ve said it since my very first fight about this team, I knew we could do brilliant things. We’ve been in the same camps and been around each other for so long,” he said.
“I know how talented those boys are and what they’re willing to put in to get these medals. Knowing they had medals and if I won one, I’d fulfilled what I said we’d do, there was a bit of pressure, but pressure makes diamonds, doesn’t it?”
Lynch has previously been compared to tartan tornado Josh Taylor, the 2014 Commonwealth champion, and added that the undisputed world champion paved the way for Scotland’s boxers.
“We all look up to Josh [Taylor], he’s done amazing things with Scottish boxing,” he said. “You dream of doing what he’s done, and I’m delighted to say I’m one step closer.”
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