All hope was not lost for England against Australia as boxer Lewis Williams salvaged some semi-final pride for the host nation at the Commonwealth Games.
While the rivalry’s more traditional sporting battlefields on the cricket square and netball court went the way of Australia, Leamington’s Williams delivered a masterclass in the ring to breeze past Edgardo Coumi on points.
Williams is the No.1 ranked heavyweight in Birmingham and relieved to finally be one fight, against Samoa’s Ato Leau Plodzicki-Faoagali on Sunday, away from glory.
The 6ft 6in 23-year-old said: “The plan was always to get to the final and I always expected to, but I couldn’t get ahead of myself and say I deserved to be there, I had to work for it.
“I like the Aussie people, but sport is sport. A lot of our GB teammates are boxing each other as we are separated into different nations, but we know what the job is, we have to fight each other.
“I’ve sparred him before, and I knew what he was about. I just followed the instructions of the coaches and kept it under control.
“There was no need to rush into anything and get caught off guard.”
Williams brushed off any fitness concerns after receiving acupuncture on his hand before the semi-final.
And he has designs on topping the podium here before repeating the trick at Paris 2024 to light the match on a professional career.
After a series of impressive displays, you would not want to bet against him following that exact path.
He explained: “It’s not just this tournament, everything has built up to now and gone to plan in training.”
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Coventry’s Aaron Bowen vowed to emerge stronger from his Commonwealth Games experience after being forced to settle for bronze.
Bowen lost a humdinger of a fight to Wales’ Taylor Bevan on points but was proud to have medalled on the major stage in front of a bouncing NEC full of friends and family.
He said: “It was a good scrap at a very high level. I gave him too much respect early on and then in the second round I thought I could stand there with him.
“It’s a valuable experience to learn in front of such an amazing crowd and I’m proud of where I got to.
“We are pretty much in Coventry and the noise was amazing. I’ve never felt anything like it, I’ll remember it for life.
“I was so close to the final, but I’ve got to learn and move forward and not kick myself for coming away with bronze. It’s not what I wanted but it’s not too bad for my first go at it.”
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