Boxing is a combat sport that pits two athletes against one another in a battle of speed, strength and endurance – each combatant poised for the perfect moment to strike with speed, strength and agility on their side.
Known by many names (pugilism, prize-fighting or the manly art of self-defence to name but a few), boxing has a rich and illustrious history within Commonwealth sport. It was one of the six sports that formed the first Commonwealth Games in 1930, and has featured in all 19 Games that have preceded Glasgow 2014.
Host nation Scotland, with a population of just over five million people, is a country that has consistently punched above its weight in the Commonwealth. All three of the Scottish boxers who flew out to the Vancouver 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games came back with medals – Dick Currie won Flyweight Gold, John Smillie took home the Bantamweight Gold and Frank McQuillan settled for Silver in the Lightweight category.
Scotland have had a host of legendary boxers battling for Gold and glory at the Commonwealth Games, notably Dick McTaggart. The Dundonian boxer recorded a Lightweight Gold at Cardiff 1958 and a Silver medal in the Light Welterweight in Australia as the Games visited Perth.
“McTaggart was “the greatest amateur I ever saw” according to legendary boxing commentator Harry Carpenter.
The Scots aren’t the only small nation to pack a punch. The tiny Caribbean island states of St Vincent & The Grenadines – with a population of 100,000 – won Middleweight Gold at Edinburgh 1986 with their only Games entrant, Frankie Lucas.
Zambia’s greatest ever boxer, Lottie Mwale, was a sensation at the Christchurch 1974 British Commonwealth Games. The light middleweight made it to the Finals and faced Scottish champion, Alexander Harrison, who he easily dispatched.
The Commonwealth Games can be the proving grounds for world-class amateurs to showcase their skills before going professional. Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan kicked of his distinguished career with a Gold medal for Northern Ireland at the Edmonton 1978 Commonwealth Games in the Bantamweight division, by battling with Tumat Sogolik in a thrilling three round bout.
At the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games, British-Canadian boxer Lennox Lewis won Gold in the Super Heavyweight category. Lewis then embarked on a meteoric rise to the top of the boxing food chain, and later became undisputed-champion of the world in 1999.
Scottish boxer ‘Amazing’ Alex Arthur loudly announced his arrival to the boxing world with a Featherweight Gold medal win at the Kuala Lumpur 1998 Commonwealth Games. Arthur would go on to record the British, European and world titles throughout a star-studded career.
Audley Harrison followed in Lennox Lewis’ footsteps by seizing Gold at Kuala Lumpur 1998 alongside Alex Arthur. The Englishman then went on to win Gold at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, becoming the first British boxer to win an Olympic Gold in the Super Heavyweight category.
There are a maximum of 3 three minute rounds in each bout*, but occasionally only one round is needed. Leonard Makhanya of Swaziland holds the record for the fastest knockout in a Commonwealth Games boxing bout. At Edinburgh 1986 he knocked a somewhat flimsy looking Kerry Webber of Wales to the mat in just 21 seconds!
The Commonwealth’s best boxers will be soon be arriving in Glasgow to make their own history. Witness strength, speed, reflexes and endurance as they battle for Gold. You can purchase you tickets here.
Reallocated seats will continue to be made available for public sale right up until Games Time so remember to keep checking the Ticketing website.
*Men will compete across three rounds of three minutes.
*Women will compete across four rounds of two minutes each.