GB boxers in new weight classes win gold in Turkey, writes John Dennen
GREAT BRITAIN took a strong team to the Ahmet Comert Tournament in Istanbul, Turkey and finished with five gold medallists on September 15.
Two GB boxers, Niall Farrell and Ben Whittaker, have moved up to new weight divisions, 57 kgs and 81 kgs, and both secured gold after four victories each in Turkey. Farrell met Australia’s Jack Bowen
and outpointed him to take a unanimous decision win. Whittaker took on the host country’s Bayram Malkam in the light-heavyweight final and similarly took a unanimous decision.
Welsh welterweight Rosie Eccles, who impressed in the Commonwealth Games earlier this year, maintained that form to win gold at the Ahmet Comert Sports Hall. She unanimously outscored Australian Kaye Scott in their 69 kgs final.
“Very happy to say that in my first tournament representing Wales with Team GB I’ll be bringing home the gold from Turkey, beating Norway, Russia, then Australia in the final today. Only just getting back into things, so felt good to be boxing better with every fight. Good start in the lead-up to the Worlds later this year. Thank you everyone who has shown me so much support, especially lately. Team effort as always. Onwards and upwards,” Eccles said.
Scotland’s Aqeel Ahmed won the 49 kgs final inside the distance. Opening his tournament with a split decision over Turkey’s Ramazan Ozbagdanli, Ahmed went straight on to the final to box another Turkish boxer, M. Taha Kacar,
whom Aqeel halted inside the second round.
There was a strong showing for Sheffield City light-welterweight Dalton Smith, who boxed four times, winning all those contests and taking the gold medal in his final bout, scoring a split decision victory over Turkey’s Muhammet Gultekin.
“Gold is coming home. Beat the number one Turk in the final today in his back yard who beat the European champion yesterday. Had four fights in four days against tough opposition,” a rightly pleased Dalton Smith said.
GB also had two medallists in boxers who have risen through the Podium Potential squad. After two victories, heavyweight Lewis Williams boxed Armenia’s Narek Manasyan in the final but lost a split decision. Talented young welterweight Harris Akbar won three times on his way to the 69 kgs final but was edged out on a split decision by Turkey’s Necat Ekinci.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get the decision I wanted in the finals yesterday, came back with a silver medal losing out to a tricky Turkish lad in his home yard,” Harris said. “But it was a great experience and I’m going back to the drawing board. I’m going to be back out again next month boxing in a tournament in Belarus and there you can count that I’m going to be bringing back the medal I deserve.”
For the first time a Somalian team competed in international boxing, organised by Londonbased Ramla Ali. She boxed Commonwealth Games gold medallist Skye Nicolson, who edged out Ramla on a split decision. Somalian middleweight Ahmed
Adan Mohamed also entered the tournament, losing to GB’S Carl Fail on a unanimous decision.
GOLD RUSH: Farrell takes the decision over Bowen in the nal
ON THE MOVE: Whittaker beats Malkam at light-heavy