GB boxers guarantee medals at World championships

World championships
McCormack, McGrail and Whittaker will all feature in the semi-finals of the World championships

THE GB boxing team guaranteed themselves medals at the AIBA World championships in Russia with four of their boxers winning their quarter-finals at the Expo Arena in Ekaterinburg on Wednesday (September 18).

Burton super-heavyweight Frazer Clarke produced a surprising victory when he edged out host nation boxer Maksim Babanin. Clarke had boxed well from range, stepping backwards to land his jab and bringing his heavy cross through. But the portly Russian had bustled forward, cuffing Clarke with hooks on the inside and he raised his arms in celebration at the final bell. But it was Clarke who took an unexpected split decision. At least at first. In a novel situation the Russian federation lodged a successful protest and had the result reversed in Babanin’s favour. Further details HERE.

Liverpudlian featherweight Peter McGrail found the going tough when he held his ground with India’s tall, strong Kavinder Bisht. But over the second and third rounds he started to move well, shifting away from Bisht, letting him miss plenty of shots as McGrail banged his southpaw cross in flush. He took a unanimous decision but Bisht had given him a real fight.

It was surprising too that Pat McCormack and Ben Whittaker were held to split decisions. They both rightly progressed to the World championships semi-finals, although both seemed to be clear winners, at 69kgs and 81kgs respectively.

Japanese southpaw Sewonrets Okazawa bounced in front of McCormack with his hands low, celebrating the occasional left hand he landed. Meanwhile Pat tracked him down and slammed strong one-two combinations through. He found the measure of Okazawa with his cross, tagging him and taking the points win.

Whittaker’s footwork was too good for Jerome Joseph-Pampellone. He skipped away from the New Zealander, marking him out him jabs and turning Joseph-Pampellone away with his left hook. The latter had to resort to foul play, tossing Whittaker to the deck with his shoulder pushing him over, virtually an admission of defeat. Whittaker took the decision and advanced to the final four.

All four boxers go into Friday’s World championships semi-finals which will be shown on the BBC Sport website, iPlayer and red button.

GB flyweight Galal Yafai closed down France’s Billal Bennama well in their first round. But the Frenchman settled into a rhythm, firing out long shots to keep Yafai on the end of his punches and taking a unanimous points decision win and eliminating the Birmingham from the World championships.

At heavyweight Russia’s Muslim Gadzhimagomedov made good use of his height and reach advantages to beat Britain’s Cheavon Clarke. He pedalled back, flicking out jabs and he smothered Clarke on the inside. Gadzhimagomedov waited for his moment to send in a stiff right cross. Clarke caught him with thumping shots, dashing them into the Russian’s chin. But he succumbed to defeat on a unanimous points decision.

Irish 57kgs Kurt Walker missed out on a bronze medal with tricky southpaw Tsendbaatar Erdenebat, of Mongolia, beating him on a unanimous points decision.

For our full report on the preliminary stages of the Worlds click HERE

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  • AIBA judging still not great – but then again this is a problem throughout boxing at every level and improvements, individual and systemic, should have been sought many years ago.


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