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Carly McNaul being driven on by support of son Jaden as she eyes up gold medal at Commonwealth Games

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Carly McNaul on her way to victory over Keshani Hansika in her Commonwealth Games Quarter-Final

Carly McNaul on her way to victory over Keshani Hansika in her Commonwealth Games Quarter-Final

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Carly McNaul on her way to victory over Keshani Hansika in her Commonwealth Games Quarter-Final

Carly McNaul has already guaranteed herself Northern Ireland’s first boxing medal at this year’s Commonwealth Games, but she’s not satisfied with just bronze.

The 33-year-old is assured of at least third place after reaching the Semi-Finals in Birmingham with a dominant display against Sri Lanka’s Keshani Hansika, winning their Quarter-Final on a unanimous points verdict.

It was a relatively comfortable afternoon for McNaul as she eased to victory and, in doing so, opened Northern Ireland’s account in the ring with their sixth overall medal.

The Belfast woman, who competes in the light-flyweight division, will return on Saturday knowing she will have some colour of medal draped around her neck at the end of the week, but she doesn’t want it to be bronze.

"I’m buzzing. Obviously I'm here to win the gold medal, not just bronze, but I’m so happy with that performance, it was much better than the last one,” she said.

"I said after the last fight (against Australia’s Kristy Lee Harris in the last-16) that it was scrappy and I’d put on a much better one and that’s what I did, so happy days.

“It was a much faster fight and I couldn’t get my shots off clean. She tried to make it scrappy and her plan worked well, but thankfully I came through it and I was able to show people I can get my clean shots off, I can do a bit of boxing and I have a bit of skill. I was able to do some of the stuff I’ve been working on in training camp.

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"Normally I get better as the fights go on. I have two fights under my belt, so I’m just looking forward to putting on another good performance.”

Driving her on in her bid to go one step further than the silver medal she won on the Gold Coast in 2018 is knowing that son Jaden will be flying out to see her in action, and he is due to arrive tomorrow.

But even within the Northern Irish boxing camp there is a buzz after some big performances, with Jude Gallagher and Aidan Walsh both winning on Tuesday to provide a boost to the rest of the team.

"I’m doing this for my son. He gives me the drive to keep on going and he’s coming out to see me perform tomorrow,” smiled McNaul.

“I can’t wait to see you Jaden, I love you to bits. My family’s coming as well, so thanks to them for their support.

"Everyone’s doing so well. Jude’s performance last night was brilliant and it’s produced a really great atmosphere and given everybody great drive to go out there and get the gold medals.”

Gallagher can join McNaul in assuring himself of a medal if he can win his featherweight Quarter-Final against Pakistan’s Ilyas Hussain this evening, with Eireann Cathin Nugent also able to reach the light-middleweight Semi-Finals if she can beat England’s Jodie Charlotte Wilkinson.


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