European Boxing: Joe Cordina wins lightweight gold

By David McDaidBBC Olympic sports reporter
Wales' Cordina wins Euro boxing gold for GB
European Boxing Championships
Date: Sunday, 16 August. Coverage: Highlights, BBC Two 14:00 BST

Welshman Joe Cordina won gold at the European Championships in Bulgaria, as Great Britain enjoyed their best ever results at the event.

The 23-year-old lightweight, who won Commonwealth bronze last year, beat Georgia's Otar Eranosyan on points.

GB's other finalists - Harvey Horn, Muhammad Ali, Qais Ashfaq and Pat McCormack - had to settle for silver.

Light-heavyweight Joshua Buatsi's bronze took their tally to six medals from a team of seven fighters.

Cordina had to battle against a tenacious opponent in Eranyosan who was constantly looking to box at close quarters.

But he was able to counter the Georgian's advances to win gold on a unanimous decision.

"I think I deserved the win. He wasn't landing clean shots on me," Cordina told BBC Sport.

"The last three months I've been working my backside off and now I'm reaping the rewards with this gold medal."

Qais Ashfaq
Qais Ashfaq failed to get revenge on Michael Conlan of Ireland

Ashfaq's bout was a repeat of last year's Commonwealth Games bantamweight final against Ireland's Michael Conlan.

The 22-year-old Leeds boxer had wanted revenge for his defeat in Glasgow but the Olympic bronze medallist was awarded the decision after a tentative, technical match.

McCormack, 20, as well as Horn and Ali, both 19, were all boxing in their first senior European Championships.

Light-flyweight Horn and light-welterweight McCormack both succumbed to Russian opponents, while flyweight Ali's frustrations were plain as he was awarded silver against the local top seed Daniel Asenov.

Britain's best-ever Euro boxing haul

"To bring seven boxers to a tournament as difficult as this and leave with six medals, with five boxers making the final, is a fantastic achievement," said GB Boxing's performance director, Rob McCracken.

"I think the team can consider itself very unlucky to only win one gold."

The six British medallists have also sealed places at October's World Championships, where they have the chance to qualify for the Rio Olympics.

They will be joined by welterweight Josh Kelly and super-heavyweight Joe Joyce, who secured their places with success at the European Games in June, when Kelly won bronze and Joyce took gold.