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Gold medal fights a dream come true for Carly McNaul and Amy Broadhurst

McNaul and Broadhurst won their semi-finals in style in Birmingham


Amy Broadhurst

Amy Broadhurst


Amy Broadhurst

Carly McNaul is relishing her ‘dream fight’ today when she will take on Indian World Champion Nikhat Zareen in the Light Flyweight final in the Commonwealth Games.

It has the makings of a cracking contest and with east Belfast woman McNaul the first Northern Ireland boxer of six into the ring on finals day she could set the tone for what promises to be a Super Sunday for our boxers.

After McNaul, Dylan Eagleson, Aidan Walsh, Amy Broadhurst, Jude Gallagher and Michaela Walsh will all fight for Team NI gold.

Facing the outstanding Zareen, who was victorious at the Women’s World Championships in May, will be the biggest test in the Games yet for McNaul who has won three fights to reach the decider, the most recent of which was a semi-final success over gutsy Teddy Nakimuli from Uganda by unanimous decision.

‘Wrecking Ball’ McNaul said: “I am buzzing. All the hard work I’ve been doing is finally paying off and each performance is getting better and better and we are saving the best performance for last.

“She was some woman (Nakimuli). She just kept coming and coming. Her engine was unreal. I thought I had a big engine. She kept taking punches and then at one point I switched off and she came at me. Then I thought I needed to switch back on here.”

The loss for Nakimuli was her first fight in the competition after her quarter-final opponent failed to make the weight. One fight, one defeat, one bronze medal. Surely Games organisers need to look at issues like that going forward.

McNaul won’t be bothered. She has a high class opponent to overcome in the final. The 33-year-old knows the Indian star from a pre-Games sparring camp held at Jordanstown.

“I have dreamed of this fight from the day I knew she was going to the Commonwealth Games,” said McNaul, savouring the challenge ahead.

“We met each other at the sparring camp and I had a great spar with her. The coaches will obviously have good tactics and I will stick to what they are saying and I think and hope it will pay off.

“She is very good. She is not world champion for no reason but I’m going to fight her really well.”

McNaul believes her movement will be key making it abundantly clear that another Commonwealth silver medal like the one she won in Australia’s Gold Coast means nothing.

“That’s no medal to me. Nobody remembers the silver, I want the gold,” she said prior to thanking her family and friends for their passionate support in the semi-final. They brought the noise and ‘Wrecking Ball’ flags.

World Champion Broadhurst is odds on to win gold after cruising into the Lightweight final with a comfortable last four win over Nigeria’s Cynthia Ogunsemilore.

In the final Broadhurst will face England’s Gemma Richardson, who has won gold at World and European youth level in the past. The Team NI boxer will also have a partisan home crowd to cope with though in true champion fashion isn’t concerned about that.

“No, because it will only want me to prove them all wrong and I’ll have a big crowd with me as well,” said Broadhurst.

“I haven’t had an issue with the crowd in any of the fights. They have been pretty fair to every country that has walked out. I’ll pay no heed to that.”

Smiling Broadhurst added: “I love the English so I do. Just to win the gold medal would be great for me especially after the last year I’ve had. This year has been amazing and to win another gold medal would be unbelievable.”

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