Category Archives: Amateur

July 6, 2018
July 6, 2018

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SWEDEN has had a rather curious relationship with boxing at the Summer Olympics, in fact, two major “flutters” come easily to mind.

So far it is the only country to host the Summer Games at which boxing was not contested. This happened at the Stockholm Games of 1912 because boxing was banned by law in that country at that time. Boxing has featured in every summer Games since 1904 with the exception of Stockholm.

At Helsinki in 1952, Sweden’s problems occurred once more, when their heavyweight representative, the late great  Ingemar Johansson who reached the final against USA’s knock out artist, big punching Ed Sanders, was disqualified in the final minute of round two for “passivity” (short for not trying) and his silver medal was withheld. The Olympic authorities finally relented and he actually received his belated silver medal in 1982, some thirty years later. Can you imagine a sportsman not trying to win in an Olympic final. It beggars belief, it really does!

Johansson apparently circulated the edge of the ring in the first two sessions without attempting to land any blows and finally the referee’s patience ran out and the Swede was led to his corner and disqualified. The theory often advanced for this curious showing was that the Swede was biding his time for a grandstand finish in the final; but his plan, if indeed, this was his plan, back fired as the third round didn’t sound for him. Johansson was always a big hurtful puncher, but it seems he didn’t give himself a proper chance to win Olympic ring glory. No Swede to date has won the heavyweight gold medal in the ring at the summer Games. We can only ponder what might have been, had Ingemar decided to let his own powerful ring artillery go in that final some sixty-six years ago.

However, this unfortunate scenario didn’t appear to trouble the Swede unduly as in June 1959 he became heavyweight champion of the world stopping the glass jawed reigning champion, Floyd Patterson in the third round of their contest in New York. One year later he was dethroned by Patterson who went on to beat Johansson once more time, on both occasions by stunning knockouts. The Swede sadly passed away in 2009. I had the good fortune to meet him some years ago, well before his passing and was struck by then by his relative short stature and general rotundness ; he didn’t strike me then as a heavyweight super-man as is the make today.

Ingemar is joined by Nils Ramm and Gunnar Nilsson, two fellow Swedes who also won silver medals at heavyweight in the summer Games of 1928 and 1948 respectively. Both were knocked out in one and two rounds respectively by big Argentinian punchers; but we are told they both came to try to win, unlike the man who later ruled the professional world at heavyweight for all of a year.

Ramm who was European heavyweight champion in 1927 and then was knocked out by Argentina’s Arturo Rodriguez Jurado in the 1928 Olympic final in the opening round. The 1928 championships were decided by boxers making the most progress in their weight divisions in the Olympic Games.   For his part, Nilsson in the London Games of 1948, lasted into the second round where he succumbed to the power of another Argentinian in Rafael Iglesias. In both these Games, Argentinian boxers were chipping away at the hitherto medal stranglehold of their European counterparts.

Sweden have also had a problem with professional boxing, banning it from 1970 to 2007. Johansson remains the only Swede to have won the biggest prize in sport, albeit for just about twelve months duration. His place on professional boxing history is thus assured; unlike his exploits in his amateur days at the Olympics, although he remains something of an enigma where that event is concerned.

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The GB Elite Three Nations championships took place in Rotherham on June 3.


Finals: Male:

49: CONNOR KELSALL (England) outpd Ben Norman (England) split.

52: MATTHEW McHALE (Scotland) outpd Hamzah Mehmood (England) split.

56: BRAD STRAND (England) outpd Stephen Boyle (Scotland) split.

60: CALLUM THOMPSON (England) outpd Dastan Kamil (Scotland) unan.

64: SEAN SPENCE (Scotland) outpd Elliott Whale (England) split.

69: TYLER JOLLY (Scotland) outpd Tom Aitcheson (England) split.

75: RAMTIN MUSAH (England) outpd Ayoub Darre (Scotland) unan.

81: SEAN LAZZARINI (Scotland) outpd Patrick Allen-Cripps (England) split.

91: LEWIS WILLIAMS (England) outpd Scott Edwards (Scotland) unan.

91&: COURTNEY BENNETT (England) outpd Mitchell Barnton (Scotland) split.

Female: 48: MIRIAM ZOUHOU (England) outpd Rebecca Stone (England) split.

51: TORI-ELLIS WILLETS (England) outpd Helen Jones (Wales) split.

54: NINA HUGHES (England) w rsf 1 Sophie Tinklin (Wales).

57: VICTORIA GLOVER (Scotland) outpd Raven Chapman (England) split.

60: HANNAH ROBINSON (England) outpd Shanice James (England) unan.

64: LYNN CALDER (Scotland) outpd Adrianne Phebey (England) unan.

69: STEPHANIE WROE (England) outpd Laura Stevens (England) split.

75: KERRY DAVIES (England) outpd Elena Narozanski (England) split

May 24, 2018
May 24, 2018

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THE sovereign state of Mongolia, historically Outer Mongolia, is bordered by the might of both China and Russia but surprisingly, it is holding its own in the Olympic and World championship boxing rings – especially for a country of a little over 3 million people. In fact it is the most sparsely populated sovereign state in the world; its peoples’ largely of nomadic origin. The country’s old Communist party ruled for many years, but in the early 1990s the democratisation movement came to the fore and remains the major political force in the country today. Mongolians are tough, resilient and very proud people and their disciplined and varied life-style have helped them succeed, mainly in recent times on the international amateur boxing stage. More of this however a little later on.

Amateur boxing emerged there in 1948 and in 1960 the Mongolian Olympic boxing team was formed. Mongolia first entered the summer Olympics in 1964 and has been an ever present since, apart from 1984, when it joined the old Soviet led boycott of the Games. Their first foray into the Olympic ring came in 1972 in Munich.

Seven Olympic boxing medals have been acquired – one gold, two silver and four bronze; while ten medals have been bagged at the AIBA Men’s World championships – one gold, four silver and five bronze. Quite an impressive haul for a very small country (population wise, and one which is spread over a huge land mass).

Turning first to the Olympics, their initial two entrants in 1972 didn’t last long. Light-flyweight, Vandui Batbayar lost in his opening bout; while light-middleweight, Namlhal Tsendaiush had first a bye then lost in his first actual bout. Results took some time to improve, but they eventually did just that.

Their initial medal came in the Olympic boxing ring in 1988, although they had first entered the summer Games at large in 1964, when the then Soviet style Communist type of regime prevailed in Mongolia. However, a medal in the men’s World championships had come six years earlier in 1982 and we will return to that in due course.

In 1988 a bronze went to lightweight Nerguin Enkhbat and four years later in 1992 another bronze was won by the fists of another lightweight Namjilyn Bayarsaikhan. Some fallow years then followed until 2008 when Mongolia’s initial (and so far only) gold medal was secured by bantamweight, Enkhbatyn Badar-Uugan who outpointed Cuba’s Yankiel Leon in the final. On his way to gold, the Mongolian had also outscored Ireland’s John Joe Nevin. The Mongolian also added the coveted Val Barker trophy to his gold medal triumph. Also at these Games, a silver went to light-flyweight Purevdorjiin Serdamba who sustained an early shoulder injury in his final against China’s outstanding Zou Shiming who thus secured a technical victory.

In London in 2012 another silver went to flyweight Nyambayaryn  Togstogt who lost out on points to the Cuban Robeisy Ramirez in a close and tough final, while light-welterweight Uranchimegin Monkh-Erdene weighed in with a bronze having narrowly eclipsed on points Team GB’s Thomas Stalker along the way.

In Rio in 2016, lightweight, Dorjnyambuugiin Otgondalaai [pictured] picked up a bronze losing out to eventual French silver medallist, Sofian Oumiha.

So Mongolia have been building up a useful Olympic medal pedigree of late, especially with a very small population on the global stage, and they aim to continue this trend in Tokyo in 2020.

Turning out attention now to the AIBA World amateur championships, Mongolia has a good story to tell here as well as we shall see:

1982 saw featherweight, Rawsalyn Otgonbayar claim a silver medal losing in the final to the legendary Cuban maestro, Adolfo Horta. Fast forward to 1993 when light-flyweight Erdenetsogtyn Tsogtjargal won a bronze medal, while four years later in 1997, silver was struck once more when lightweight, Tumentsetseg Uitumen lost on points to the Russian gold medallist, Alexander Maletin.

2007 saw another silver medal go to Mongolia, this time bantamweight, Enkhbatyn Badar-Ugan lost a narrow points decision in the final against Russia’s Sergey Vodopyanov. The Mongolian having beaten England’s Joe Murray in their semi-final bout.

But two years later in 2009, Mongolia received a full set of medals from these championships. Gold went to light-flyweight Purevdorj Serdamba who bested Russian David Aayrapetyan in their final encounter. Silver was won by flyweight Tugstsogt Nyambayar who lost in his final to the classy Puerto Rican McWilliams Arroyo. Bronze was captured by Uranchimegin Monkh-Erdene who lost to the eventual gold medallist from Cuba Roniel Iglesias.

In 2011 light-flyweight, Purevdorjiin Serdamba  failed to retain his world crown, but he did win bronze medal losing to the eventual silver medallist from South Korea, Shin Jong–Hun. In 2013, Uranchimegin Monkh- Erdene gained another bronze medal losing to the eventual silver medallist from Cuba, Yasniel Toledo

Last year in 2017, saw a clash of old Olympic lightweight foes: Frenchman, Sofian Oumiha and Mongolia’s Dornyambuugiin Otgondalai with the Frenchman eventually taking gold, having defeated his Mongolian counterpart in their semi-final clash.

Mongolian men have also boxed with distinction in the Asian Confederation Championships  and World Military Games, AIBA World Junior and  Youth Championships as well as at regular international tournaments at home and abroad. Their women have had success in the past at Asian Confederation Championships, especially in the women’s case in 2012, when their first two gold medals were clinched. Success has also been chalked up at AIBA Women’s World Junior and Youth World Championships. Mongolian women boxers did not feature in the London and Rio Olympic Games; but have been entered in the AIBA World Women’s Championships , without medal success so far. All in all, a fine catalogue of continuing success for such a distant nation and one it can be immensely proud of.

So this is the Mongolian medal story in the Olympics and the Worlds and also at home and abroad too, very commendable indeed so far and with every indication that there is much more to come from this remote land of fighting me and women.

Please do spare a thought for this writer with advance apologies if necessary in the light of such intriguing Mongolian names, hope I have not done too much of a disservice to their splendid fighting contestants.

April 30, 2018
April 30, 2018

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IN a bid to prevent boxing being ousted from the Olympic Games, world governing body AIBA have submitted a report, a second time as requested, to the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC had raised grave concerns about the governance of AIBA, notably after they appointed Gafur Rakimov as interim president. The boxing body also had to address the parlous state of its finances and issues around integrity.

“AIBA is committed to implementing change in many areas and has already made great progress in the last couple of months. As we continue our road towards a more prosperous AIBA, we are dedicated to transparency on all levels. We look forward to being able to share this report and more exciting announcements with all AIBA members as soon as possible. This report is just the first of many steps for the new AIBA,” executive director Tom Virgets said.

Virgets also insisted that they are improving their anti-doping programme. “Being in compliance with the World Anti-Doping marks a big achievement for AIBA and shows its commitment to move our organisation forward. We believe this is just the first step and we will continue our talks with WADA as we working together in the fight for clean sport,” he said.

April 16, 2018
April 16, 2018
British Lionhearts Carl Fail

British Lionhearts

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THE British Lionhearts secured a roaring 3-2 victory over the France Fighting Roosters in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) on Saturday night (14 April 2018).

Three boxers from the team, Carl Fail, Joe Ward and Solomon Dacres delivered victories to delight the noisy crowd at Newport Centre in a tremendous night of boxing for Wales.

A fifth round stoppage from Ireland’s Joe Ward and a debut victory for GB boxer, Carl Fail, brought the Lionheartsback in-line with France, after they lost their two opening bouts. 

It was up to Solomon Dacres to secure the deciding win of the night in his bout against Mihai Nistor. Solomon set the pace throughout the bout and gained a unanimous victory for himself, ensuring that his team made it through to the next stages of the contest.

Rob McCracken, Head Coach of the British Lionhearts added: “It was a superb team performance tonight and all five of the boxers did very well. 

“The boxers who we would usually feature in the WSB line-up are currently away at the Commonwealth Games, so this gave the other boxers the opportunity to step up and show what they could do, putting in some really good performances.

“In the 52kg contest Will Cawley performed well in a hard fought bout with the Bulgarian European Champion, there was very little in the fight with the Bulgarian winning on a unanimous decision.

“The next contest was the 60kg bout between Dzmitry Asanau and Sofiane Oumiha, the Belarusian performed really well boxing the reigning Olympic Silver medallist and current World Champion, in what was a tactical battle between the pair, the Frenchman showed his experience in winning a unanimous decision but was pushed all the way by Dzmitry Asanau (current under 22 European Champion), who put in a very good performance.

“Following this was the 69kg bout, Carl Fail looked very confidence and boxed tremendously well in his first ever WSB contest, winning by unanimous decision and put on a superb boxing display.

“Joe Ward showed his class and experience in stopping Bakary Diabira in the fifth round, the Frenchman who is very tough, solid and busy worked extremely hard but Joe Ward was always one step ahead of him. Joe boxed well throughout the bout forcing a stoppage at the end, getting a very good win.

“The last bout of the night was a fantastic contest between Solomon Dacres and a very experienced Mihai Nistor. Solomon fought a tremendous contest, in only his second ever WSB bout. He performed well, landing the better shots throughout and gained a unanimous win against his opponent who pushed him all of the way.

“Overall it was a fantastic night of boxing for the team, and was thoroughly enjoyed by a supportive home crowd.”

The full results were:


British Lionhearts


Fighting Roosters

Flyweight (52kg)

Will Cawley (ENG)

Lost (0:5)

Daniel Asenau (BUL)

Lightweight (60kg)

Dzmitry Asanau (BEL)

Lost (0:5)

Sofiane Oumiha (FRA)

Light-welterweight (69kg)

Carl Fail (ENG)

Defeated (5-0)

Kevin Julien Bertogal (FRA)

Light-heavyweight (81kg)

Joe Ward (IRL)


(TKO R5)

Bakary Diabira (FRA)

Super-heavyweight (91kg+)

Solomon Dacres (ENG)

Defeated (5-0)

Mihai Nistor (ROM)


Lisa Whiteside

Action Images/REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

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WATCHING from the sidelines as her team-mate and rival Nicola Adams swept all before her, Lisa Whiteside began to wonder if her time to shine on the big stage would ever come.

Serious injuries and tough split decision defeats on the rare opportunities that came her way prompted the Preston 32-year-old to consider her future in the sport.

But with Adams away to the professional ranks, Whiteside finally stepped up to seize her chance with victory over Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul to claim the Commonwealth Games flyweight title on the Gold Coast.

2018 Commonwealth Games – Day Ten
Lisa Whiteside finally got to hang a gold medal around her neck (Danny Lawson/PA)

Whiteside was one of a record-breaking total of six England gold medallists on the final day of the boxing competition, with Sandy Ryan, Galal Yafai, Peter McGrail, Pat McCormack and Frazer Clarke also topping the podium.

“I’ve always been so close to standing on the top of that podium,” said Whiteside. “I’ve had to bide my time, I’ve had to take knocks, I’ve had to be sat in the shadows. But now it’s about me, Lisa Whiteside, and I’m number one at the Commonwealth Games.

“There were times I nearly quit. I’ve been through some tough times. I’ve had a shoulder operation and a head injury and I’ve been in the shadow of Nicola.

“But no matter how many things people want to throw at me, it just shows my strength and my will-power, and I hope I serve as an inspiration to young people to never give up on your dreams. If you can keep pushing and believing in yourself you’ll get there.”

Super-heavyweight Clarke wrapped up victory with a tough decision over India’s Satish Kumar and said he hoped victory would allow him to emerge in his own right after being known for so long merely as one of Anthony Joshua’s sparring partners.

“I do spar with Joshua, but I’m nobody’s sparring partner and I never have been,” said Clarke. “I hope people do recognise me now as Frazer Clarke, and if you don’t know me now get to know me because you’re going to be seeing a lot more of me in the next few years.”

Paige Murney had to settle for England’s only silver medal, taking their tally to a record-breaking nine, while Sammy Lee and Lauren Price both claimed gold medals for Wales, with Rosie Eccles taking silver after her loss to Ryan.

But there was disappointment for Northern Ireland whose six boxers all lost their respective finals and had to settle for silver medals.

Price claimed her gold with a fine split decision win over Caitlin Parker at 75kg, a victory which will mark her out as a potential challenger for Ryan as she intends to move back down to the welterweight division.

2018 Commonwealth Games – Day Ten
Galal Yafai was one of six England gold medallists (Danny Lawson/PA)

“This win will give me a lot of confidence because I have been fighting opponents who are naturally so much bigger than me,” said Price. “Tokyo is the big target for me and all this is helping towards that goal.”

Yafai was forced to work overtime to defeat India’s tough Amit and claim the men’s light-flyweight gold medal via a split decision.

McGrail beat Kurt Walker of Northern Ireland to win the bantamweight title and McCormack cruised through his welterweight final against another Northern Irishman Aidan Walsh to also reach the top of the podium.

Four years after her tight points defeat to Nicola Adams, Walsh’s sister Michaela felt hard done-by again she she dropped a tight verdict to Australian featherweight Skye Nicolson, while team-mate Kristina O’Hara was beaten by Indian light-flyweight superstar Mary Kom.

April 14, 2018
April 14, 2018
Commonwealth Games

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THE English team won six gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in Australia on Saturday. Galal Yafai, Lisa Whiteside, Peter McGrail, Pat McCormack, Sandy Ryan and Frazer Clarke are the new championships.

Wales also produced two impressive gold medallists in middleweight Lauren Price and teenage light-heavy Sammy Lee.


Female: 48: Mary Kom (India) outpd Kristina O’Hara (Northern Ireland) unan. 51: Lisa Whiteside (England) outpd Carly McNaul (Northern Ireland) unan. 57: Skye Nicolson (Australia) outpd Michaela Walsh (Northern Ireland) split. 60: Anja Stridsman (Australia) outpd Paige Murney (England) unan. 69: Sandy Ryan (England) outpd Rosie Eccles (Wales) split. 75: Lauren Price (Wales) outpd Caitlin Parker (Australia) split.

Male: 49: Galal Yafai (England) outpd Amit (India) split. 52: Gaurav Solanki (India) outpd Brendan Irvine (Northern Ireland) split. 56: Peter McGrail (England) outpd Kurt Walker (Northern Ireland) split. 69: Pat McCormack (England) outpd Aidan Walsh (Northern Ireland) unan. 81: Sammy Lee (Wales) outpd Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali (Samoa) unan. 91&: Frazer Clarke (England) outpd Satish Kumar (India) unan.