Croft twins flying at full steam at Commonwealth Games

Croft twins flying at full steam at Commonwealth Games
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Identical twins Ioan and Garan Croft are flying full steam ahead in pursuit of matching Commonwealth Games gold medals.

The 20-year-old brothers from Cardigan, who fight in different weight categories on the insistence of their mother who can’t bear to see them face each other, have boxed their way into Saturday’s semi-finals in Birmingham.

Light middleweight Garan had the tougher quarter-final assignment against Mauritius’ two-time Olympian Merven Clair and lost the first round before regaining his poise to earn a unanimous points decision, setting up a clash with Northern Ireland’s Olympic bronze medallist Aidan Walsh.

Welterweight Ioan’s progress was more serene, stopping Malawi’s Luwis Zakeyu Mbewe to book a date with Scotland’s Tyler Jolly.

Garan said: “It’s a new opponent, an experienced one who was a bronze medallist in Tokyo. He has it all to lose. I’m going to go for him from the start and really prove a point.

“He’s very skilful so I have to prepare for that. But I’m skilful myself and I’ve been in with similar opponents to him.

“I’ll have to up my game but I’m confident I can do it and get across the line. We’ll work on my start. I expect a hard fight but I can do it.

“I’ve never been in a ring with him, but spoke to him a bit backstage this week. He looked very good but we’re ready.”

Ioan added: “I know in the semi-finals I’ll have to up my game as my opponent will be a lot better.

“I won’t be able to coast it at all, it will be three hard rounds.”

This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Punching plumber Jake Dodd said he was in dreamland after guaranteeing a bronze medal that he hopes will change his life and cement a place on the GB boxing programme.

The Wrexham flyweight, 27, will face England’s Kiaran Macdonald for a place in the final on Saturday after ending spirited Northern Ireland youngster Clepson Paiva’s journey at the quarter-final stage with a third-round stoppage.

The lively Birmingham crowd will largely be against Dodd but he has a plan up his sleeve to negate that..

Dodd said: “I’m going to get everyone up here. It’s a Saturday they are all off work - Wales v England it is!

“I want to go all the way to Sunday’s final and get gold, which is the focus now.

“I think I need a few days off from plumbing. I've earnt it. I was a bit emotional at the end as I can't believe I'm even here, let alone winning a medal. It is dreamland for me.

“Dreams do come true. It was only a couple of years ago I said ‘I’ll see how far I get’.

“Words can’t explain what that medal means to me, it’s going to change my life and my future. Hopefully, I’ll move onto the Olympic squad full time and see what that brings.”

Owain Harris-Allan was the last Welsh boxer to book a semi-final spot on Thursday but has no desire to rein in his assault on the bantamweight division.

Harris-Allan, 18, only joined the full-time programme at Sport Wales at the beginning of this year but is already guaranteed a senior Commonwealth Games medal after a straightforward points win over Papua New Guinea’s Jamie Chang.

Now just Ghana’s Abraham Mensah can prevent the young gun from a shot at a gold medal on Sunday.

“The only colour I am interested in this weekend is gold. I am here for gold and nothing is going to stop me,” said Harris-Allan.

“I deserve to be here. I'm the best fighter here. I will prove it this weekend in the semis and the final.”

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