Team NI have claimed an historic 5 gold medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games finals in Birmingham.
Boxing is Northern Ireland’s most successful sport at the Commonwealths with 61 medals, including 13 golds, 19 silvers and 29 bronze medal bronze, prior to the 2022 games. Today, that tally rose to 18 golds, 20 silver and 30 bronze, respectively.
The day began dramatically, with news that Jude Gallagher’s opponent in the 57kg final, Ghana’s Joseph Commey, would not contest the bout. Jude was awarded gold.
The first Team NI bout to be boxed was the meeting of 2018 CWG silver medallist, Carly McNaul, and reigning 50kg World Champion, India’s Nihat Nihat. Carly, of Ormeau Road BC, put in a valiant performance. The World no. 5 ranked boxer came away with silver, following a 5-0 scoreline.
Dylan Eagleson, of St. Paul’s BC, contested his final against Abraham Mensah of Ghana. Dylan, a European U22 bronze medallist and European silver medallist, was behind 4-1 on the scorecards after the first round, but made the bout his, returning a 5-0 decision win, and claiming gold. Dylan, speaking to Birmingham 2022, says “To get a silver at the Europeans and now a gold here is beyond my dreams. I can’t believe it has come so quickly. I was 4-1 down with the judges after the first round, so I knew what I had to do. I picked up my pace and I think I delivered in the second and third rounds. The judges thought so too. I had to change things and I managed to do so. I worked him out a little. I thought I deserved it. I had to adjust but I found a way to win.”
Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist, Emerald BC’s Aidan Walsh, met Tiago Osorio Muxanga of Mozambique in the 71kg final and turned in a masterful performance, winning a 5-0 decision and gold. Aidan, speaking to Birmingham 2022 after his win said “: “The coaches we have in Northern Ireland have been the key to all this success. The coaching is brilliant. It is very professional and of course you have to have the boxers to reach the top, but really the coaching is what has made all the difference.”
63kg World Champion, Amy Broadhurst, contesting the Commonwealth Games at 60kg, met home boxer, Gemma Richardson, in one of the most anticipated bouts of the day. Amy was dominated and decisive from the off, and returned with a UD and gold. Richardson was twice deducted points. This Amy’s first time contesting the Games.
The final Team NI boxer between the ropes in Birmingham today was Olympian, Michaela Walsh. Michaela made history after winning her quarter final, becoming the first boxer to medal at 3 Commonwealth Games – 2014, 2018, and 2022. Michaela’s previous medals are silver and she looked to up-grade to gold today – and did just that against Elizabeth Oshoba of Nigeria, with a 5-0 decision. Speaking to Birmingham 2022, Michaela said “Seeing him (brother, Aidan) win his gold is more special than me winning mine. He’s my baby brother and to see him achieve his dream is what I have dreamed of myself. “It’s phenomenal. The whole family was (proud). I have no words for it.”
Wales Rosie Eccles, who got the win over Eireann Nugent, went on today to claim 70kg gold – so, too, did Nihat Nihat of India, who got the decision over Nicole Clyde in the 48kg quarter final.
Team NI was led by Performance Lead, John Conlan, Head Coach Damian Kennedy and coaches Liam Corr, Rory McShane and Jay Delaney. The team was supported by Physiologist, Damian Martin, Physiotherapist Lorcan McGee, and Ulster High Performance Administrator, Aimee Shiels.
Team NI’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games included a 12 day 10 nation camp, which it hosted in Belfast, contesting the Eindhoven Box Cup, a training camp and test matches in Italy and weeks of intense squad training at the team’s base, supported by training in each boxer’s club.
Team NI Performance Lead, John Conlan, says “Northern Ireland has a remarkable track record at the Commonwealth Games. Members of this team have contested strongly at European and World level already this year. Our boxers were ready to make their mark in Birmingham, and they made that mark in style.”
Team Ireland High Performance Head Coach, Zauri Antia, says “This is an historic result from an incredibly strong team. Team NI, its coaches, club coaches and boxers should be extremely proud of the entire team’s performance throughout the games, which is testament to the weeks and months of preparations leading up to Birmingham.”
N.I Commonwealth Team:
48kg Nicole Clyde, Antrim BC – Quarter Finalist
50kg Carly McNaul, Ormeau Rd BC – Silver medallist
51kg Clepson Paiva, Holy Trinity BC– Quarter Finalist
54kg Dylan Eagleson, St. Paul’s BC– Gold medallist
57kg Michaela Walsh, Emerald BC- Gold medallist
57kg Jude Gallagher, Two Castles BC– Gold medallist
60kg Amy Broadhurst, St. Bronagh’s BC– Gold medallist
63.5kg JP Hale, Star ABC
67kg Eugene McKeever, Holy Family BC, Drogheda
70kg Eireann Nugent, Immaculata BC– Bronze medallist
71kg Aidan Walsh, Emerald BC– Gold medallist
75kg Jake Tucker, Emerald BC
Performance Lead: John Conlan
Head Coach: Damian Kennedy