Triple delight as Ogogo goes for gold
It was billed as the biggest bout of his career – taking on the world number one in his homeland. And Lowestoft's Anthony Ogogo was punching the air in victory after producing the 'performance of his life' to defeat Indian superstar Vijender Singh at the Commonwealth Games semi final.
As Ogogo upset the odds to bounce back from being 3-0 down in the final one and half minutes of yesterday afternoon's tense encounter to eventually triumph 4-3, gold is now firmly in his sights – with the middleweight final to be contested against Northern Ireland's Eamonn O'Kane tomorrow.
Back home, his Triple A boxing club coach John Cremin was literally jumping for joy in his living room, as Ogogo moved ahead in the final 14 seconds to seal a prestigious place in the final after beating the red-hot favourite.
And for Cremin – who has overseen Ogogo's rise to the top in the past decade – justice was done as the 21-year-old Ogogo secured an illustrious spot in the final courtesy of two warnings that the Canadian referee handed out to Singh for holding.
Ogogo seemingly looked to have landed the best shots and should have scored 'with at least five points', according to Cremin, but he didn't get any reward for a number of clear scoring shots.
'The referee was not great at the start, but I think he could see that Anthony was scoring with his punches and was not being awarded the points,' Cremin said.
'Singh was holding on for dear life and as I predicted before the bout, he could not deal with Anthony's pace.'
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The Indian led 1-0 after the two opening rounds – despite the Lowestoft lad looking to have landed the better punches – and it looked to be semi-final heartache for Ogogo as Singh moved 3-0 ahead into the final minute-and-a-half.
But, in a frantic finale, the pressure finally told as Singh tired dramatically and, as he grimly tried to hold on, the referee handed out two warnings – the final one coming with just 14 seconds left – as Ogogo jumped for joy in the ring as the final bell sounded.
The Indian Boxing Federation mounted a protest over the referee's decision to award Ogogo points for his opponent holding but it was quickly dismissed by Games officials.
'To be fair, I think Anthony would've beaten him earlier had the fight been judged fairly, and really there should be an enquiry into the bout as the lack of point-scoring was totally blatant,' Cremin said.
Ogogo now faces 'tough' Irishman O'Kane in tomorrow's final, and Cremin admitted: 'It will be a difficult bout, he won a bronze in the 2008 world championships and is Irish champion, having been about for a long while.
'He is a strong, dangerous kid but if Anthony boxes as he has all tournament he should not have any problems – saying that, it is a final and people are always spurred on by the occasion.'
Cremin however added that Ogogo had done what he had set out to do in reaching tomorrow's final - and now he will be determined to finish the job by picking up a gold medal.
'Everyone was shouting and cheering at the television screen – it was a real mixture of emotions – but now he is in the final and that's fantastic. He has done Lowestoft and his country proud.
'Anthony has just beat the world number one – you can't get any bettter than that, and it has certainly sent out a big scare to the boxing world. Now the aim is to win the gold!'