Tyrone Tornado Jude Gallagher wins gold but misses final as Carly McNaul battles for well-deserved silver

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Jude Gallagher may have won gold at the Commonwealth Games but admitted he was devastated not to fight in his final in front of packed crowds at the NEC.

he 20-year-old from Newtownstewart was due to enter the ring at 7pm last night, but in the morning he was told by the Northern Ireland coaching staff that his opponent was unable to take part in the competition.

It was reported that Ghana’s Joseph Commey fell ill, but after his medal ceremony, which Commey attended, Gallagher said he was told the African could not make weight for the fight featherweight and had therefore received an unsurprising victory and the gold medal.

On Saturday, Gallagher’s semi-final clash also didn’t happen after Canadian Keoma-Ali Al-Ahmiadieh forfeited.

It was a double whammy for the ‘Tyrone Tornado’ who was eager to show what he could do after shining earlier in the competition with three excellent performances beating Eswatini’s Zweli Comfort Diamini, stopping the much-vaunted English Niall Farrell and beating Ilyas Hussain of Pakistan.

Explaining last night how he learned the news that the final would not take place, Gallagher said: “This morning I went to the weigh-in as planned, gained weight, came back and took breakfast. I was in bed resting all day and the coaches knocked on the door and I felt like it was just going to be a game plan discussion.

“They said it wasn’t about the game plan and said ‘unfortunately your opponent has pulled out’. They were devastated for me as I obviously wanted to fight on finals night as the mood was They were devastated for me and I was devastated, but there was nothing we could have done about it.

“I had to accept it. I did everything for me. It took me a while to get into it because my semi-final went the same way because I advanced there when my opponent withdrew.

Speaking of his family and friends who had traveled to Birmingham to watch it, the articulate and amiable Gallagher said: “Most people came hoping for a semi-final and a final and they only got neither, which is unfortunate, but they all understood that there was nothing I could have done.

“It was a brilliant tournament for me. I had three very difficult fights and I performed very well. It’s a shame that I couldn’t play in two more fights, but it’s a good start for my senior international career.

At 7 p.m., Games organizers gave Gallagher the chance to step into the ring to have his deserved moment in the spotlight. He appreciated that and hopes there will be more to come with the 2024 Olympics on his radar.

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Carly McNaul shows off her silver medal last night

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Carly McNaul shows off her silver medal last night

Meanwhile, East Belfast’s Carly McNaul performed well in the light flyweight final against India’s excellent Nikhat Zareen, but the world champion was just too good, winning by unanimous decision at points.

The 33-year-old had to settle for silver, having won the same color from the Gold Coast four years ago.

“She’s just a really brilliant boxer. I went in and tried to stay small and move my head, but she was just better than me. She was very skilled and technical and got better punches,” said was the honest assessment of McNaul who is determined to keep fighting.

“I’ll be back. I’m not going to stop until I get what I want. A lot of people didn’t believe I could gain 50kg but I went out there and I did it and I I proved people wrong. It was a pretty big fight and then coming here and doing the performances that I put in, I’m proud of myself.

“I had four very good fights and I met the world champion in the final. I’ll go back and watch the fight and get a lot out of it and learn and get her back again. I will meet her at the Olympics. She’s beatable and I believe I can beat her.


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