Saturday 24 February 2018

Dean Gardiner exits AIBA World Championships with agonising split decision loss to Christian Salcedo

Dean Gardiner, Clonmel, during the 91+kg Super-Heavy Weight IABA Box-Off for the European Championships against Martin Keenan, Rathkeale, at the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dean Gardiner, Clonmel, during the 91+kg Super-Heavy Weight IABA Box-Off for the European Championships against Martin Keenan, Rathkeale, at the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

From Sean McGoldrick in Hamburg

Clonmel super heavyweight Dean Gardiner has exited the World boxing championships after suffering an agonising 2-3 split decision loss against Columbian Christian Salcedo in a last 16 bout.

“I did what I could in the ring, the rest was up to the judges and unfortunately they didn't pick me and there is nothing I can do about that. I felt maybe I had done enough to nick it,” suggested Gardiner, who lost by the narrowest of margins.

While the Cuban judge gave all three rounds to Salcedo, who won a silver medal at the American Championships, the other four score cards reflected just how tight the contest was.

Even the two judges who ultimately gave the verdict to Salcedo gave one round to the Irishman, while the two officials who sided with Gardiner also gave one round to the Columbian.

So the final scorecard read 30:27; 29;28; 29:28 for Salcedo while Gardiner shaded it 29-28 on the other two judges' cards.

It was a thrilling contest which, in fairness to the judges, made it all the more difficult to score. Both boxers traded scoring punches in a frantic opening round, though the Salcedo's style of boxing in flurries – which was particularly noticeable in the second round – undoubtedly caught their eye.

Ultimately, Gardiner delivered the cleanest and best shot of the fight, a cracking left hook which caught his opponent flush on the face just before the final bell sounded. It other circumstances it might have been sufficient to sway the decision in this favour, but not on this occasion.

“It was a close fight and I was happy with my performance but I just didn't get the nod. It is disappointing but it will probably hit me more tomorrow. The adrenalin is pumping now.

“This was my first World championship. The experience was great. This is where I belong - at this level, but I don't know what it's in store for me now.

“I will keep boxing but I don't know which way I will go,” revealed Gardiner who may follow the path of his fellow Tipperary man Con Sheehan and turn professional.

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