Sean Lazzerini leads Scotland’s surge with light-heavyweight boxing gold

<span>Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Getty Images

As Sean Lazzerini fought his way into a Commonwealth Games final on Saturday afternoon, the biggest day of his budding career so far, he approached the moment with unrelenting confidence: “I’m on fire,” he said. “And everyone is getting it.”

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A day later, as he stared down Taylor Bevan of Wales to win the men’s light heavyweight final, he lived those words to the full. In a close and competitive battle the intelligent Lazzerini used every ounce of his experience to edge past the highly rated Bevan, pulling off a small upset as he was crowned Commonwealth Games champion.

Lazzerini, a European bronze medallist this year who had been plagued with chronic hand issues after fracturing it during a bout, was part of a Scottish surge at the National Exhibition Centre. Moments before he entered the ring, his compatriot Sam Hickey edged past Australia’s Callum Peters by the tightest of margins, a 3-2 split decision, to win gold in the men’s middleweight division.

Their medals have helped to make these Commonwealth Games Scotland’s second most successful of all time, behind only their home event in Glasgow eight years ago.

Their success in boxing was replicated throughout the home nations. Aidan Walsh of Northern Ireland had to settle for a silver medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games four years ago and then at the Olympics he took a brilliant bronze. Finally he stands on top of a major senior podium, producing a skilful, intelligent performance to defeat Mozambique’s Tiago Muxanga by unanimous decision. “It’s great. It’s been a long road since the Olympics,” he said. “The first major competition back, to come away with gold, it’s great. I’m happy to be enjoying boxing, enjoying life and enjoying the experiences that come with it.”

The gold rush for British boxers continued as eight gold medals were decided in the first two sessions of three. Wales’s Rosie Eccles defeated Kaye Scott of Australia in the women’s light middleweight final and Dylan Eagleson of Northern Ireland outboxed Ghana’s Abraham Mensah by unanimous decision to take home the men’s bantamweight title.

Reese Lynch of Scotland outsmarted Louis Colin of Mauritius to win the men’s light welterweight final and Lewis Williams beatSamoa’s Ato Plodzicki‑Faoagali in the men’s heavyweight final. In the women’s lightweight division Amy Broadhurst of Northern Ireland beat England’s Gemma Richardson by unanimous decision.

The final day of boxing ended with one of the most hyped athletes of the Games under the spotlight. Birmingham’s Delicious Orie navigated an extremely tight super-heavyweight battle with India’s Sagar Ahlawat to win gold.

After losing the first round, Orie demonstrated his intelligence and grit as he recovered and then won in a bout that came down to a stunning burst of crushing blows from Orie in the last 15 seconds. “This is what I live for now,” he said. “This is gonna be my career. And I can’t wait to bring people together.”