Joe Cordina's Win Gives Some Hope To Wales Team
Joe Cordina's victory over Great Britain team-mate Pat McCormack was just Wales' first win of a difficult start to their Commonwealth Games boxing campaign, but it felt like a gold medal to the lightweight.
Welsh world number one flyweight Andrew Selby's shock opening-day defeat to Scot Reece McFadden followed the pre-tournament blow of seeing Olympic silver medallist Fred Evans refused accreditation following an assault charge.
With the wider Wales squad reeling at the loss of athletes Rhys Williams and Gareth Warburton over alleged doping offences, Cordina was desperate to bring some much-needed joy to their ranks and he edged past 19-year-old Englishman McCormack, a former world and European junior champion.
The 22-year-old, who won a split decision after landing the cleaner blows in the final round, said: "Basically that was the gold medal bout for me. Obviously with us being in the Team GB set-up, he is number one and I am number two, so it was quite a big fight for me."
Cordina, who will fight Canada's David Gauthier in the last 16, added: "Obviously it was the second bout for Welsh boxing and the first win so hopefully the rest of the boys and girls can carry on doing it for Wales."
Light-welterweight Zack Davies did so later with a composed display against Thabiso Bagwasi of Swaziland, a fighter with a long reach and a willingness to come forward.
Davies, who used his left hook to good effect to win every round, said: "We were on a downer yesterday with Selby but this is a big boost for the camp and we will hopefully keep winning."
With Scotland's Charlie Flynn and Northern Ireland's Joe Fitzpatrick handed byes into the last 16 of the lightweight competition, light-welterweight Josh Taylor was the only home fighter in action and he produced a solid unanimous points win over Botswana's Kagiso Bagwasi.
Taylor vowed to embrace the pressure of being Scotland's main gold medal hope in the ring.
The 23-year-old said: "All the media, the cameras, crowd, attention, can put a lot of athletes off but I've had that experience now.
"I've been to all the biggest tournaments, I lost to the eventual winners at the World and European championships and there was nothing in it, so I feel I can beat anyone on my day.
"There is expectation on me because I got silver at the last Games but I don't feel any pressure. I'm just going to enjoy every single minute because it's going to be here and gone in a flash, I'm going to take it all in and give it my best and hopefully my best is gold-medal worthy.
"I didn't feel I performed my best there. I felt a bit tight and a bit hesitant, but I got it under way and hopefully it's bigger and better now.
"It seems to be what I do every time I box at a tournament, my first one is always my worst one and I get better and better as I progress."
England's Sam Maxwell began his light-welterweight bid with a one-sided victory over Ikani Falekaono, stopping the Tongan halfway through the second round.
Maxwell threw a number of unanswered combinations against an opponent who was well out of his depth and barely mustered a punch.
The Liverpudlian said: "I was looking at the corner wondering why they weren't throwing the towel in because it was a bit cruel at the end."
Northern Ireland maintained their 100 per cent record with comfortable wins for Sean Duffy and Connor Coyle.
Light-welterweight Duffy's unanimous decision against resilient Sri Lankan Dilshan Mohamed was reward for his efforts in bouncing back from a career-threatening injury.
The 23-year-old said: "This time last year I was sitting in a hospital bed with my mouth wired, eating with a straw.
"A lot of people wrote me out of boxing and said I'd never come back. But it takes more than a broken jaw to keep me down."
Duffy added: "My dad had a wee bit of a struggle getting tickets and getting over. But he was here tonight and that makes it that wee bit more special."
English middleweight Antony Fowler was supremely confident over his last-16 prospects after a unanimous points win over Cypriot Kyriakos Spanos set up a Monday clash against Scotland's Kieran Smith.
The Liverpudlian said: "Obviously he will have the crowd on his side. The judges might be influenced by the noise, but I think I'm a level above Kieran Smith.
"I'm not being disrespectful - he's a young lad and he's talented. I beat him three years ago and since then I've gone on to greater things and he hasn't really improved much.
"I've had seven golds at international tournaments and a world bronze, and what's he done? I'm not being disrespectful - I'm fully confident.
"I beat him at the GB championships in the final in London three years ago. It was a bit of an easy performance, without being big-headed.
"The first round I was up five points and he didn't really want to come and get punched. He was happy to get through it.
"I never accept defeat - I always push on to the last bell - but he was happy to stand off."
Fowler knows Smith might be fired up by the home support at the SECC, but he added: "He's a counter-puncher and, if he wants to come and get me, he's in for a shock."