Sport

Friday 19 September 2014

Walsh would beat Adams - Barnes

Published 30/07/2014 | 17:04

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Nicola Adams, pictured, and Michaela Walsh could meet in the final

Nicola Adams may be blazing a trail as the world's leading women's flyweight, but the inspiration she provided to others could be about to come back to haunt her.

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Adams eased into the semi-finals at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow as she outclassed and floored Sri Lanka's Erandi de Silva on her way to a unanimous decision win.

But no longer is the gold medal a mere formality for Adams as the revolution she did more than most to fuel yields increasing competition across all three women's weight categories.

Northern Ireland 21-year-old Michaela Walsh joined Adams in the semi-finals with a points win over Jamaica's Sarah Joy Rae and is likely to face Adams in the final, provided she dispatches tough Indian Pinki Jangra next.

Many remain confident of Walsh's chances should she square off against the Olympic champion, with her team-mate from the Holy Family club in Belfast, Paddy Barnes, insisting: "What you've seen from Michaela is just a fraction of what she can do.

"She spars with me in the club and she gives me lots of trouble. You heard it from me first - if they fight in the final, I'm telling you she'll beat Nicola Adams."

Walsh is the first to admit the success of Adams played a significant part in shaping her own career, but she believes it will soon be time for a new star on the women's scene.

Walsh said: "Nicola and Katie Taylor have done so well but there are up-and-coming boxers now. Nicola is 31 and I'm a kid compared to her. I'm a big fan of hers but if we do meet I can go all the way."

Adams will face Canada's Mandy Bujold in the last four on Friday and warned her rivals that, while her sport has grown in strength significantly in the two years since the London Olympics, so has her own ability.

"I have grown massively since then," Adams said. "I have really grown into my technique and my style. I am working on new things all of the time and everything just seems to be going really well and in full flow at the moment.

"The sport has grown massively too. I know from after London 2012 it increased by 50 per cent and hopefully with everybody seeing the Commonwealth Games on the BBC there will be more and more girls and guys getting involved in sport and in boxing."

Walsh's team-mate Alanna Audley-Murphy also squeezed through to the middleweight semi-finals on a split decision over Islington-based Dominican Valerian Spicer.

Double Olympic bronze medallist Barnes blazed into the last four by thoroughly outclassing Charles Keama of Papua New Guinea.

A succession of swift hooks forced Keama to take two standing counts in round two and two more big shots in the third left the Papuan flailing and handed Barnes his second straight stoppage win of the competition.

And Barnes' team-mate and fellow Olympic bronze medallist Michael Conlan was another winner as he comfortably outpointed Bashir Nasir of Uganda.

Northern Ireland ensured they will take home an impressive nine boxing medals after late wins for Steven Donnelly and Connor Coyle.

Welterweight Donnelly out-manoeuvred Custio Clayton of Canada on a unanimous decision and middleweight Coyle completed a successful day by beating Siphiwe Lusizi of South Africa.

England captain Antony Fowler led the way into the middleweight semi-finals with a comfortable points win over Nickson Abaka, while Qais Ashfaq and Scott Fitzgerald also guaranteed medals.

Meanwhile, Savannah Marshall faces a women's middleweight semi-final against rugged Nigerian Edith Ogoke after outpointing Pearl Morake of Botswana.

Reigning bantamweight champion Sean McGoldrick of Wales edged through on a split decision over Ayabonga Sonjica of South Africa, and Welsh light-flyweight Ashley Williams beat Muhamad Redzuan of Mauritius.

Former Welsh junior football captain Lauren Price also went through with a strong points win over Kaye Scott of Australia.

Scottish heavyweight Stephen Lavelle outpointed India's Amritpreet Singh but light-flyweight Aqueel Ahmed was well beaten by classy Indian Devendro Laishram.

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