Delicious Orie won the super-heavyweight gold medal for England in the last bout of the boxing tournament at the Commonwealth Games in his Birmingham hometown on Sunday.
Orie showed off his skill the first round, landing long-range jabs on India’s Sagar Ahlawat.
But when the Indian southpaw’s aggressive rushes to end the session pocketed the first round for all five judges, Orie needed to rapidly change his approach.
Under pressure he did just that. In the second round, he got on the front foot and brought smashing right uppercuts into Ahlawat’s chin. The Indian grabbed him up in clinches and let a heavy punch stray below the belt. But going into the third and final round Orie had levelled the scores.
For the Russia-born GB boxer, it came down to a matter of heart in that last round. Orie stepped on to the inside and swung in hard hooks. He forced the bout his way as Ahlawat suffered a bad cut over his left eye and the home crowd roared Orie on.
He swept the last round for all five judges to win a unanimous decision.
Orie seized the announcer’s microphone to address the crowd in the arena.
“It’s possible to achieve what you want to achieve. I started boxing at 19 years old. I represented Team England at 25 and I just won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. It’s possible, go out there and achieve whatever you want to achieve,” he said to a huge ovation.
Another local boxer, Lewis Williams from Leamington also won boxing gold, beating Samoa’s Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faogali on a unanimous decision in the 92kgs final.
England team-mates Demie-Jade Resztan and Kiaran MacDonald had to settle for silver, losing to Indian pair Nitu Ghanghas and Amit Panghal, respectively. Lightweight Gemma Richardson joined them as an English silver medallist when she lost a unanimous points verdict to Northern Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst.
Scottish boxing history was made when their team won three gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games for the first time.
Middleweight Sam Hickey was their star performer. After stopping England’s Lewis Richardson in the semi-final, a spectacular result, he beat excellent Australian Callum Peters on a split decision in the 75kgs final.
“Believing in yourself and actually going in the ring and doing something is different,” Hickey said.
“You’ve got to be able to do a bit of everything. I’ve showed in this tournament I can box, I can fight, I can punch a bit, I’ve got a big future and I’m looking forward to showing what I can do in the next few years.”
Sean Lazzerini overcame Welsh talent Taylor Bevan to clinch light-heavyweight gold for Scotland. Light-welterweight Reese Lynch won the third gold medal for their team when he squeezed out Louis Collin of Mauritius on a split decision.
Lynch withstood a cut in the final round to edge the verdict his way.
“I’ve been saying from the start that we can do brilliant things and that put a bit of pressure on me after watching both my team-mates go out there and get gold,” said Lynch, a member of the GB squad who won a World Championship medal in 2021.
“We’ve been around each other for so long and I always knew we could reach these kinds of levels. I’m so proud to be part of such a record-breaking team.
“Now my focus switches to going to the Olympics and adding to my medal collection.”
Eccles exorcises ‘boxing curse’
Four years of bad luck melted away for Rosie Eccles as the 26-year-old from Pontypool served up an emphatic second-round stoppage of Australia’s Kaye Scott to claim gold in the women’s light-middleweight division.
Eccles had endured a controversial split-decision defeat to England’s Sandy Ryan in the Gold Coast final four years ago and subsequently missed out on a place at the Tokyo Olympics when her body was attacked by a mystery virus and she was denied a second chance by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m always a very optimistic person, but even I started thinking I was suffering a bit of a boxing curse,” said Eccles. “I was starting to think it just wasn’t going to happen.
“Things kept coming up out of the blue – I got to the first qualifier and got attacked by a virus, then I was denied the chance to go to Tokyo. To come through all of this and win gold is just amazing.”
Eccles forced Scott, a former world medallist, to take a standing count in the opening round and piled on the pressure in the second, doling out two more counts that convinced the referee to step in and stop the contest.
“I think I can take my silver medal out of its box now,” added Eccles. “I’ve kept it there for four years, even when I visit schools, but now I can say I will get it out because it’s a part of my story, and I can look on it with pride.”
Victory was all the more impressive for Eccles, who is small for a light-middleweight, and will benefit more from the equivalent category at the Paris Olympics, where the upper weight limit is four kilograms lighter.
“Paris is definitely the target now and I will be more powerful at the lighter weight,” added Eccles. “I’m always quite humble, but I think my time has come. You haven’t seen the best of me yet.”
Ioan Croft won another gold medal for Wales when he beat Zambia’s Stephen Zimba in the welterweight final.
Northern Ireland also had strong return from these Games with five gold medallists.
Brother and sister Aidan and Michaela Walsh won the light-middle and featherweight categories respectively. As well as Broadhurst’s triumph their team-mates Dylan Eagleson and Jude Gallagher both won gold as well.