A GOLD medal for lightweight Joe Cordina capped a historic performance by boxers from the GB Boxing squad which secured six medals at the EUBC European Championships in Samakov, Bulgaria.
The 23-year-old Welshman defeated Otar Eranosyan of Georgia to become European Champion on a day of mixed fortunes for an inexperienced GB Boxing team which saw four of its boxers have to settle for silver medals despite delivering a string of excellent performances.
The medal haul of one gold, four silver and a bronze is the best ever performance by a team of boxers from the three home nations (England, Scotland and Wales) in the 90 year history of the European Championships.
“To bring seven boxers to a tournament as difficult as the European Championship and leave with six medals, with five boxers making the final, is a fantastic achievement,” said GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken.
“All of the boxers have acquitted themselves very well throughout this week, and after some superb performances today, I think the team can consider itself very unlucky to only win one gold.
“This is a very talented, yet still relatively inexperienced group of boxers, so to perform so well at a tournament of this stature and now have eight boxers going to the World Championships in October, which is an Olympic qualifier, is a great achievement and augurs very well for the future.”
Cordina’s classy triumph over the brawling style of Eranosyan was the highpoint of the day as the man from Cardiff showed superior skills and clever footwork to outwit the Georgian and secure a unanimous victory.
It was to prove the sole victory for the Great Britain team, as its boxers got little reward from the judges despite delivering a series of excellent performances that belied their youth and inexperience at this level.
The first two finals saw Harvey Horn, 20 (light-flyweight), and Muhammad Ali, 19 (flyweight), both put in strong performances against the number one ranked boxers at their weights, yet the judges awarded both bouts in favour of their opponents and the pair from Great Britain had to settle for silver medals.
A re-match of last year’s Commonwealth Games final at bantamweight, saw Qais Ashfaq take-on Ireland’s Michael Conlan in a contest between two classy boxers, however the result was the same as in Glasgow with the Irishman edging out the Leeds boxer in a close bout.
The final bout of the day for GB Boxing saw Washington’s, Pat McCormack, 20, against Vitaly Dunaytsev of Russia at light-welterweight. Despite landing a series of clean shots and consistently making the Russian miss, McCormack’s stylish work did not win favour with the judges as he lost out on all three of the judges’ cards.
The final tally of six medals was made-up by a bronze for Croydon’s, Joshua Buatsi, 22, in the light-heavyweight division.
All six boxers have earnt a place at the World Championships in Doha in October 2015, which is an Olympic qualification event. They will be joined by welterweight, Josh Kelly, and super-heavyweight, Joe Joyce, who secured their places following their success at the European Games in June of this year when Kelly won bronze and Joyce took gold.
The record breaking haul of six medals at this week’s European Championships means that male and female members of the GB Boxing squad have now won 45 medals at 12 major championships since Rob McCracken became Performance Director in November 2009.