Calmness was key for Scott in gold medal bout

Scott Fitzgerald with his dad Dave at Larches and Savick ABC
Scott Fitzgerald with his dad Dave at Larches and Savick ABC
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A timely scream from his cornerman ensured Scott Fitzgerald kept his mind firmly focused on realising his boyhood dream of winning a Commonwealth Games 2014 gold medal.

The 22-year-old Preston boxer was standing pumped in a neutral corner in the ring at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow on Saturday night as his opponent in the final of the welterweight division staggered to his feet.

India’s Mandeep Jangra had felt the full force of one of Fitzgerald’s brutal left-handers in the opening round, as he crashed to the canvas.

In the heat of the moment and with the adrenaline pumping in front of thousands of spectators, the Larches and Savick Amateur Boxing Club star could have been forgiven for letting the excitement of the early knock-down get the better of him.

However, instead of looking to end the bout early – subsequently leaving himself open to the counter-attack – Fitzgerald remained controlled and measured, much to the delight of the England coaches ringside.

“When I put him down in the first round, I was excited,” Fitzgerald said.

“But when I was stood in the corner, my coaches were screaming at me to stay calm and not to go diving in.

“They reminded me to keep to my game plan and get behind my jab. He recovered quite well from the punch which put him down.

“Jangra is ranked 11th in the world so I knew being put down wouldn’t have affected him.

“I was really pleased I didn’t go diving in and kept my mind focused on the job.”

Fitzgerald continued to score with his piercing left jab and put Jangra on the floor once more in the second round with a huge right hand over the top.

Another bludgeoning left- hander shortly afterwards had the Indian seeing stars once more as the referee stepped in to hand him a standing count.

Jangra recovered to finish the three-round bout but at the final bell, there was no doubt who was the winner.

Fitzgerald said: “I got him with the big right hand but it was the same again afterwards – just keep working hard and I knew I would get the win by stoppage or by points. I just stuck to it – the game plan the coaches gave me worked.”

The fact that Fitzgerald has a gold medal hanging around his neck still has not totally sunk in.

He is set for a homecoming party this evening at his local pub the Lane Ends, where he is looking forward to thanking all of his supporters – many of whom travelled to Glasgow to watch him.

“I still can’t really believe it,” he said. “I keep looking at the gold medal – I’m just buzzing.

“I am looking forward to getting back to Preston and seeing everyone. The support has been unbelievable.

“A lot of people came up to watch – they must have taken time off work and spent a lot of money.

“ I really appreciate it and I am hoping to see them all tonight.”

The Preston boxer is also looking forward to seeing his family – especially his dad Dave, who trained him from a young age.

“I think my dad will be proud. I only managed to see him quickly after the fight,” he said.

“I gave him a quick handshake and then I got taken off to the media area, so I’m looking forward to having a chat with him.”