Belfast Telegraph

Fitzpatrick pulls no punches in explaining defeat

By Steven Beacom

Sometimes you just can't help yourself. That was the case for 19-year-old silver medal winning Belfast boxer Joe Fitzpatrick inside the SSE Hydro Arena on Saturday.

Taking on Scottish firebrand Charlie Flynn in the Commonwealth Games lightweight final, the teenager from Immaculata had planned to keep his distance and let his superior boxing skills take him to gold medal glory.

Caught up in the electric atmosphere with 10,000 home fans threatening to take the roof off the place, Fitzpatrick played into 20-year-old Flynn's hands by getting involved in a scrap.

Flynn loved it. This was his type of fight. And with every punch he threw the volume increased to deafening levels.

Flynn, so patriotic he would bleed tartan, was firing shots at will and unfortunately for Fitzpatrick too many were landing, leading to Braveheart Charlie winning the contest by a unanimous decision.

The Arena was rocking as Flynn, full of fun and mischief, jumped up on to the ropes to celebrate as Fitzpatrick looked on wondering what might have been.

To his credit the Belfast boy didn't pull any punches about why he ended up with silver rather than gold.

"I didn't fight the tactics I was meant to and I got brought into a fight," said Fitzpatrick.

"I think it was the home crowd cheering him on and me going in to fight, to make it a war. I should have stepped back and boxed and I would have beat him no problem.

"When the crowd gets going you want to get in there and you want to fight. You get bored as well standing off him. I should have just threw one-two big straight hands the whole fight, but, sure ... I didn't... and he won it."

Fitzpatrick, disappointed though not disheartened, added: "I can box 100 times better than that. He did what needed to be done but I know in my head I could beat him any day of the week.

"In the semi-final (against Trinidad & Tobago's Michael Alexander) I boxed out of my skin – if I had done that in the final he wouldn't have touched me.

"I'm only 19 though and have got to a Commonwealth Games final – not many people do that at 19. I'd rather have the gold than silver, but I'll come back stronger."

And that's the thing, Fitzpatrick is still only a teenager.

What he achieved in Glasgow was outstanding. The kid can only get better and the experience of fighting in front of thousands of screaming Scots won't do him any harm long term.

"That was the biggest place I've fought in. The biggest one before was the National Stadium in Dublin which holds 2,000. So it's a good experience for me and I'll come back better for it," he said.

In the future he's hoping for some big fights at home.

"I'm going to go on holiday and after that I don't know what's going to happen – to go pro I'd need the right management and the right money or stay amateur and go for the Olympics," he says.

"When I look back on Glasgow I'll be proud, I've got silver, though it could have been even better."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph