Rosie Eccles is fighting for Commonwealth Games redemption

·3 min read
Rosie Eccles of Wales in action with Sandy Ryan of England.

Boxer Rosie Eccles has been here before but is now ready to rewrite the ending to her Commonwealth Games story.

Portskewett puncher Eccles, 26, will fight Australia’s Kaye Scott on Sunday for the chance to take gold in Birmingham after a unanimous points victory over Northern Ireland’s Eireann Nugent.

Light middleweight Eccles was crushed to leave the Gold Coast with silver in 2018 and suffered more hardship after exiting Olympic qualification early before dedicating herself to sparring compatriot Lauren Price, who went on to win Tokyo 2020 gold before turning professional.

“I’ve never done things the easy way, it’s always been a tough journey,” she said.

“I’m glad I did help Lauren but mentally it was hard as there was nothing at the end of it for me. I’m proud of her but now it’s my turn to achieve what I’ve fallen short of.

“She always drops me a message and wishes me good luck and we will see if my hard work pays off.”

This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Taylor Bevan, 21, was chuffed to silence the home crowd and edge through a sensational slugfest with England’s Aaron Bowen to set up a light heavyweight final against Scotland’s Sean Lazzerini.

Lazzerini said he does not believe the hype surrounding Bevan - who had to win the third round to make it through - but the Welshman responded: “I’m not interested in that.

“I had a really close fight but I’m really happy with how it’s going and confident I’ll get the win.”

You may not be able to tell 20-year-old identical twins Ioan and Garan Croft apart but their dream of bringing home matching golds will have to wait.

Welterweight Ioan is flying the flag for the brothers from Crymych but had to do it the hard way after battling back from losing the first round to earn a decision over Scotland’s Tyler Jolly.

“It’s a dream come true but there is still nine minutes of work left,” said Ioan, who will face Zambia’s Stephen Zimba for gold.

“In the Europeans, Garan got to the final and I didn’t - now it’s my turn to shine and hopefully bring that gold medal back for us.”

Light middleweight Garan was left bewildered by Olympic bronze medallist Aidan Walsh who he described as a “nightmare” after becoming the latest victim to fall to the Northern Irishman’s awkward evasive style.

After finishing with bronze, Garan said: “A nightmare is the best way to sum him up, he’s an incredibly skilful boxer but he is five years further down the line and used all that experience to good effect.

“I hope I’ve made a corner of Wales very proud, and I certainly gave it all I had. I couldn’t have given any more. I just couldn’t catch him and make it my kind of fight.”

Young prospect Owain Harris-Allan was gutted to have a rare off day when it mattered most but thinks a bronze medal can accelerate his fighting career beyond these Games.

Bantamweight Harris-Allan, 18, was outmuscled by Ghana’s Abraham Mensah and said: “I didn’t box my best and wasn’t as sharp as I could be.

“He turned up on the day but I’m going to move on and keep working hard to achieve my goals.

“I’m happy with bronze but just disappointed I didn’t turn up; it has been a big learning experience.”

Punching plumber Jake Dodd took too many shots straight down the pipe as he was stopped by England’s classy operator Kiaran Macdonald.

Dodd, 27, was forced to settle for a flyweight bronze that he had said would change his life after winning the quarter final.

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