Ciaran MacDonald stops Jake Dowd to book his place in the flyweight boxing final

Overthrowing has always provided the opportunity for greater heights, and in the buoyant atmosphere of the National Exhibition Center, Ciaran MacDonald of Sunderland lived to the fullest.

Three months ago, MacDonald made his way to the European Championship final in Yerevan, Armenia. He was completely confident in his ability to win, but failed, losing by unanimous decision to Spaniard Martin Molina. Despite winning a silver medal, he crashed.

“I was completely sad,” he said. “I beat the boy I lost to in the final before so it hurt more. It kind of felt good, which you can’t do at this level because everyone is upping their game and getting better all the time. You have to keep it going. I think that will push me to forward”.

As MacDonald made his way to the Commonwealth Finals on Saturday, the pain of that defeat drove him away. He made a comprehensive display of his skills and tenderness in a one-sided semi-final match with Wales player Jake Dodd, his fellow GB teammate. From the start, MacDonald’s wit and speed managed to neutralize Dodd’s sometimes reckless aggression. He was in constant motion, picking up his punches precisely because Dodd couldn’t keep up.

After going through the first round, Dodd dropped twice in the second, brandishing a strong right hook that contrasted with his 5-foot-5-inch stature. In the third round, MacDonald eliminated him. He fired a sinister right hook right at Dodd’s chin, his massive force collapsing Dodd’s legs, causing him to slide backwards on the canvas and propelling McDonald into the final.

“I put a nice, crunchy finish on it. Put a little silver lining on it,” he said with a smile. “But we can’t get enough of that. We go again tomorrow. I want to top that podium.”

As he looks to wrap up his revenge run, MacDonald will face Amit Bangal of India, the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalist on the Gold Coast and former world championship silver medalist. It’s a tough company, but MacDonald will carry with him the lessons he learned from the European final.

“I don’t feel very satisfied,” he said. “When you feel like there’s nothing left for you, you can always dig deep and find something in yourself. I feel like you don’t want those feelings again. When I lost, I was so sad, so this time I can’t leave it to chance. I’ll fight my heart and soul completely, and what He’ll be in the day. He’s a world-class competitor but another contender on my resume.”

On a busy day in the semi-finals of both genders, several British boxers advanced to the finals. Scotland’s Sam Hickey got his revenge on the European champions in another fight between his GB teammates, this time controlling Lewis Richardson at the men’s middleweight before knocking him out with a devastating right hook. Richardson beat Hickey in the European semi-finals to win a silver medal.

Sam Hickey (right) dominated British teammate Louis Richardson to reach the men’s middleweight final. Photography: Peter Byrne/Penn

The victories continued throughout the day. In the women’s lower weight division, England’s Demi-Jade Restan clinched a dominant victory over Lithabo Mudokanel. Wales’ Rosie Eccles beat Northern Ireland’s Erin Nugent in the women’s light middleweight final, and Scotland will face Wales’ Taylor Bevan in the men’s lightweight final.

Despite their defeats, three nations confirmed their first medals at this year’s Commonwealth Games; Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia won bronze medals thanks to Modukanele, Alcinda Panguane and Patrick Chinyemba.

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