WALCOT’S Mikey McDonagh exited the Schoolboy Championships in a blaze of glory following a narrow and controversial points defeat in his national semi-final in London on Saturday, writes Dave Veysey.
The 12-year-old faced the more experienced Eryk Ciureja, from the Sparta Fenland club in Cambridgeshire, in a Class A, (32.5kgs), contest, with a place in the national final at stake.
Ciureja boasted an impressive record of nine wins from his 10 bouts to date, and he started quickly from the opening bell, scoring with fast left jabs and straight rights.
He also glided effortlessly across the ring - which made him an elusive target to pin down.
McDonagh had some success with left jabs on the counter but the first round belonged to his talented opponent.
However, some wise words from veteran coach Harry Scott in his corner at the first interval meant McDonagh enjoyed much greater success during the middle session.
He closed down the Eastern Counties champion to the ropes and landed with left jabs and straight rights from close quarters to seemingly take the round.
The final round saw Mikey completely dominate as his superb fitness came into play - whilst his opponent tired.
A McDonagh left hook landed to put Ciureja on the canvas, but unfortunately the referee treated it as a slip so no points were gained by the Walcot boxer.
He continued to dominate to the final bell, at which point the huge crowd gave both boxers a superb ovation after an enthralling contest.
But to the dismay of the Walcot camp the ringside judges awarded Ciureja a split points’ decision.
McDonagh said afterwards: “I am very disappointed because I thought I did enough to win.”
Walcot Coach Harry Scott added: “We are very happy with Mikey’s performance but unhappy at the judges’ decision.
“I thought we won the second and third rounds, but that’s boxing, sometimes you don’t get the result that you deserve.
“Now Mikey has to get back in the gym and continue his development, as he has a great future in amateur boxing.”