SUPERB CROFT STRIKES GOLD
CRYMYCH’S Garan Croft extended his winning streak to 19 contests en route to striking gold in the 64kg division at the Emil Jechev tournament in Bulgaria.
The rangy 17-year-old – whose ring exploits tended to be overshadowed by those of his twin brother Ioan earlier in his career – was at his brilliant best as an inspired Wales team also captured three bronze medals and a silver in the event in Sofia.
Southpaw Ioan had to settle for bronze at 60kg having seemed unfortunate to be on the wrong end of a split decision against a US boxer in the semi-finals.
There was no stopping Garan, however. Having outpointed Sabadash, of Ukraine, 5-0 in the quarterfinals, he overcame Almesticu, of the USA, 4-1 in the semis.
The finals saw the Cardigan ABC star pitted against Bromau, of Sweden, in what proved a very busy contest.
The Swedish boy was very mobile but Croft put together some classy combinations as Bromau came at him from all angles on the way to a well-merited points victory.
Ioan, meanwhile, outclassed Santini, of Italy, 5-0 in the quarterfinals prior to his loss against Meccado – a defeat which dismayed the boxer’s dad, Cardigan ABC head coach Guy Croft, following the action from home on live stream.
“Ioan was so unfortunate. I’ve watched the fight twice and still think he should have had the decision,” he said. “He boxed beautifully in a very closely matched fight against the American number one.
“The American was perhaps a bit busier, but Ioan was throwing the cleaner shots and holding the centre of the ring. The Bulgarian judge gave all three rounds to America, when in anybody’s eyes Ioan had the third without a doubt.”
Meanwhile, the Croft twins maintained their outstanding recent form as both reached the finals of the Welsh Boxing Championships.
Both will seek to add more Welsh titles to their already impressive collection at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on Saturday.
Competing in the 64kg division semi-final in Blackwood, Garan’s power saw him quickly gain control against Jak Williams of Caerphilly, forcing a second-round stoppage with a series of body shots.
Ioan then took on old 60kg rival Tom Janes (Highfields ABC), who he overcame in last year’s final.
Although Janes made a strong start, Ioan’s control of space and accurate punching dominated the bout.
Janes went down from a body shot in the third round and took an eight count, but although it briefly appeared that his Cardigan ABC adversary might stop him, he hung on to the end as the Crymych teenager secured a unanimous points victory.
The Carmarthen Quins Girls’ Under-18 side who were beaten 24-15 by Cardiff Quins – arguably the best side in the country – in an exciting Welsh Cup quarter-final.
Cardigan ABC’s Garan Croft was the pick of the Welsh team who won a gold, silver and three bronze medals at the Emil Jechev tournament in Sofia.