‘Terrible’ was the damning verdict from Belfast boxer Carly McNaul on her own performance as she claimed a split decision victory in her opening bout at Birmingham 2022.
The 33-year-old won 52kg silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and is one of Team Northern Ireland’s big hopes for a medal again here having dropped from flyweight to light flyweight.
But McNaul admitted she was lucky to come through her first contest at The NEC, taking a split decision 3-2 on the judges’ scorecards against Australia’s Kristy Harris.
“It was terrible, just a terrible fight. It was just very scrappy and I was two rounds down and I just had to dig deep in the last round and was lucky to get through,” she said.
“So I just have to turn my attention to the next fight now and know that the first fight is out of the way. Hopefully the next one will be much better as it will have to be.
“Hopefully I’ll be back to the way I normally box. I’m not really sure why it went that way, I don’t have an excuse, it just wasn’t really what I have been doing in training really.
“She was good but she was just making it very difficult. I can’t really put my finger on it. She was just ruining everything but that’s the first one out of the way, the next will be better.”
McNaul has had a series of injuries since her silver success on the Gold Coast in 2018, including a broken femur, torn hand tendons and scars on her eye that were also operated on.
And while the co-captain of the Northern Irish boxing team was frustrated with her first outing, she is incredibly proud to be representing her country again on the big stage.
“My first fight is normally my worst one so now I’ve got past that I know I’ll be a lot better,” she added. “It’s an amazing experience being here, this is my second Games and I’m glad to be here.
“I’m proud to be representing myself, my country and my family in front of such a great crowd. It’s a great atmosphere but I can’t get as good a sun tan, that’s the only thing.”
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