A rude awakening was just what Dundee fighter Sam Hickey needed as he passed his opening Commonwealth Games test with flying colours at Birmingham 2022.
The 22-year-old from Lochee won every round of his Round of 16 middleweight bout against St Lucia’s Kyghan Mortley at The NEC to progress to the quarter-finals with ease.
But Hickey did not have it all his own way as Mortley came out swinging from the first bell before his rough-house tactics resulted in him being deducted a point in the second round.
And after weathering the early storm, which saw Hickey’s chin test by a solid left hook, he admitted that his first taste of Commonwealth Games action was just what he needed.
He said: “To be honest, at first, I didn’t expect him to run at me. He caught me with maybe one shot and I was like, ‘what’s going on here?’ I went back to the corner and said, ‘what was that?’
“You’re not used to these kinds of fighters from the Caribbean and that just running at you like that, it was a bit uncomfortable at first but once I got my range, I started to pick him apart.
“It was pretty comfortable for me in there, after about a minute I was fine, I was in the groove. I didn’t have any information on this guy at all which isn’t usual.
“Usually when I’m boxing, I’ve got multiple fights and loads of videos and you know about these guys but this guy was unknown so when I got in there it was perfect.
“It was something I’ve never seen before but I loved it.”
Hickey’s win sets up a quarter-final on Wednesday with Nigeria’s Adeyinka Benson, who edged a tight contest with Ghana’s Abubakari Kwesi Quartey 3-2 in the Round of 16.
But Hickey insisted he fears no one in his weight category, with the Lochee Boxing Club member confident he has the ability to top of the podium as he relishes his moment on the big stage.
“I’m made for this, this is what I’m made for,” he added.
“I love performing on the big stage in major competition in front of a big crowd. It helps me a lot but once I get in the ring I try not to get too involved with the crowd, I just get straight to it.
“Basically, I never thought I would have been in this position when as a nine-year-old I went into the gym. To get here I’m happy but I’m not happy until I get a gold around my neck.
“I know I can beat everyone on my day. There was no doubt coming into this competition that I needed any sort of reassurance. I’m just looking forward to the next one. I’m going to smash it.”
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