SU­PERB CROFT STRIKES GOLD

Llanelli Star - - BOXING AND RACING -

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.

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