JOE HAM has been loving every moment of these Commonwealth Games in his Glasgow hometown. Spotted with a distinctive blue Mohican haircut relishing the opening ceremony, he boxes England’s Qais Ashfaq in their 56kgs quarter-final today (July 30).
“He’s beat me [in the past], I’ve beat him, we know each other, we’ve sparred loads of rounds. It’s a level playing field but I feel like he’s going to need an army to beat me,” Joe told Boxing News.
But he might be entering the ring today without the blue Mohawk. “I think I’ll shave it off,” he confessed. “It’s a bit annoying having to spray it. All my pillows in the village are just blue.”
Though he’s confident he can make an impression without it. “I’ve got the backing, I’ve got the support. Everybody backs me and I’m ready to go,” he said.
Ashfaq however has performed well so far. He had to put all his speed and skill to work to cope with the crazed assault of Lesthotho’s Neo Thamahane, who threw everything at Qais from his head to slapping, hammering fists. Ashfaq did well to emerge with no cuts, few bruises and barely a lock of hair out of place.
“He was weird,” Qais said. “Unorthodox kids like that, they come from all weird angles. You don’t know where the shots are coming from, which normally you don’t get hit by.”
And the Englishman warned, “I’m ready now. I know what the atmosphere’s like.”
They should clash at about 1.30pm.
Michael Conlan kicks off the day’s action, against Uganda’s Bashir Nasir, at 1pm. Immediately after Welsh Commonwealth Games gold medallist Sean McGoldrick has to tackle tall, rangy South African Ayabonga Sonjica.
English heavyweight Warren Baister, cut and wounded last time out, boxes Canada’s Samir El-Mais at around 2pm. Scottish heavyweight Stephen Lavelle will box Amritpreet Singh at about 2.30pm. Northern Ireland flyweight Michaela Walsh takes on Jamaica’s Sarah Joy Rae at 3pm. Nicola Adams has a Sri Lankan, Erandi de Silva at 3.45pm. Welsh lightweight Charlene Jones has a tough contest with India’s Laishram Devi at 4.30pm.
Wales’ Ashley Williams begins the evening session against Malaysian light-fly Muhamad Fuad Mohd Redzuan at 6.30pm. Scottish 49kgs Aqeel Ahmed has a tricky assignment against India’s Devendro Laishram immediately after and then it’s Paddy Barnes versus Charles Keama from Papua New Guinea.
English welter Scott Fitzgerald should be going to war with New Zealand’s Bowyn Morgan at about 7.45pm. Northern Ireland’s 69kgs Steven Donnelly tackles Canadian Olympian Custio Clayton at 8.15pm. Middleweight Connor Coyle boxes South Africa’s Siphiwe Lusizi at 8.45pm and then at about 9pm English 75kgs Antony Fowler goes in with Kenya’s Nickson Otieno Abaka. Welsh middleweight Lauren Price is on against Australia’s Kaye Scott at 9.45pm and expect English middleweight Savannah Marshall at about 10.15pm against Pearl Morake, from Botswana.
All the contests today are quarter-finals so the victors will be guaranteed a medal.