Belfast Telegraph

Commonwealth Games: Rivals all want to be the new me, says Nicola Adams

By Kevin Garside

Blood and thunder on a Glasgow afternoon, and at the heart of the piece the poetic hammer of Nicola Adams detonating excitement with every blow. It hardly needs noting that Adams guaranteed a flyweight bronze with the lethal evisceration of her Sri Lankan opponent, Erandi de Silva, a game boxer routinely exposed.

Adams is already an established star in the sporting firmament, and her arrival in the 12th bout of the opening session received wild applause befitting her status.

De Silva was down at the end of the first round, the victim of a beautifully crafted combination. She deserved the Queen's award for industry for maintaining her feet for the remainder of the four-round bout.

Between them the three judges scored all but one of the four rounds 10-8, confirmation of the colossal gulf in class.

Adams was born with a surfeit of enthusiasm, and in that uniquely expressive way of hers explained how she is better now than when she won the first Olympic gold medal claimed by a female boxer two years ago, at the London Games.

"I have grown massively since then. I've really grown into my technique and my style," Adams said. "We are working on new things all the time. Everything seems to be in full flow."

There was even an Ali shuffle in there, which, of course, becomes the 'Nicky shuffle' in the Adams lexicon.

"Everybody is a challenge for me. Everyone wants to be the new Nicola Adams," she said.

"Everyone wants to beat me and take the No 1 spot. But I'll just stick to cutting my grass and not worry about how green everybody else's is."

Joining Adams in the semi-finals is Indian flyweight Pinki Rani, one of two Indian boxers to defy the stereotype that casts women of the subcontinent in a submissive role.

Rani ran straight though Papua New Guinea's Jacquiline Wangi to set up a potential final against Adams should she negotiate the test provided next by Northern Ireland's Michaela Walsh.

Pinki's accomplished compatriot Laishram Devi, a former world champion, was equally impressive in her split-decision victory at lightweight against Wales' Charlene Jones.

Jones was of a far higher calibre than Pinki's opponent and led by a point going into the final round. But Devi would not be subjugated, blasting her way to medal territory.

England welterweight Scott Fitzgerald edged into the medal bouts via a split-decision in the fight of the night against granite-jawed Kiwi Bowyn Morgan.

If he makes it all the way to gold he might offer Morgan a share of the spoils for three months.

The English flyweight hope Qais Ashfaq boxed beautifully to beat Scotland's Joe Ham, but heavyweight Warren Baister was denied his medal opportunity, dropping on a split-decision to Canada's classy fighter Samir El-Mais.

Belfast Telegraph

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