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.”
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 fullest. 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 his hand during a bout, was part of a Scottish surge at the National Exhibition Centre. Moments before he entered the ring, his countryman 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.
With their medals, it means that this year’s Commonwealth Games is Scotland’s second most successful Games of all time, behind only their home event in Glasgow 2014. Scotland have 11 gold medals and 46 overall.
Their success in boxing was replicated throughout the home nations. Aidan Walsh, the experienced co-captain of the Northern Ireland boxing team, 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 Muxango 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 Commonwealth Games gold medalists were crowned in the first two sessions of three. Wales’ Rosie Eccles defeated Kaye Scott in the women’s light middleweight final and Dylan James Eagleson of Northern Ireland outboxed Ghana’s Abraham Mensah by unanimous decision to take home the men’s bantamweight title.
Meanwhile, Reese Lynch of Scotland outsmarted Louis Colin of Mauritius to win the men’s light welterweight final and Lewis Williams triumphed over Samoa’s Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali in the men’s heavyweight final. In the women’s lightweight division, Amy Broadhurst of Northern Ireland defeated England’s Gemma Richardson by unanimous decision.