Delicious Orie turned his focus to emulating Anthony Joshua after surviving a rough-and-ready Commonwealth Games final against Sagar Ahlawat to become England’s latest super-heavyweight boxing gold medallist.
The Birmingham 25-year-old lost the first round on all five judges’ cards before rallying to claim a unanimous decision victory and take the hosts’ final gold medal count to two on the final day of competition at the NEC.
England heavyweight Lewis Williams also won gold, Scotland trio Reese Lynch, Sam Hickey and Sean Lazzerini made history for Scotland, Welsh duo Rosie Eccles and Ioan Croft also topped the podium, and there were an incredible five gold medals for Northern Ireland.
— GB Boxing (@gbboxing) August 7, 2022
But the conclusion of the competition belonged to Orie, who slugged desperately through the final round, repelling the Indian’s lumbering advances and leaving his opponent nursing a bloody cut around his left eye.
“I might have been doubted but I will always prove people wrong,” said Orie. “I am so proud to be English and representing England, and I can’t wait for the Olympics in Paris.”
The 6ft 6ins Orie, who was born in Russia and came through a gruelling battle in order to secure his UK passport last year, becomes the latest in a long line of home-nation stars in the sport’s heaviest division, none more so than Joshua.
The sky is the limit. My inspiration has always been Anthony Joshua, and what he has achieved is the bare minimum. I am the next generation and we are going to excel.
Orie, who has trained with Joshua in Sheffield, added: “The sky is the limit. My inspiration has always been Anthony Joshua, and what he has achieved is the bare minimum. I am the next generation and we are going to excel.”
Leamington heavyweight Williams was England’s other winner, with a unanimous verdict over Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali of Samoa, while Croft was a clear and classy victor over Zambia’s Stephen Zimba.
Lynch completed a Scottish gold-medal rush with a split-decision win over Louis Collin of Mauritius that marked the first time Scotland have won three boxing gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old light-welterweight earned the verdict on all but one of the five judges’ cards to emulate his compatriots Hickey and Lazzerini.
GOOOOOLLLDDDD for Reese Lynch!! 🥇
Reese emulates Josh Taylor's achievements in 2014 and his gold makes this the first time Team Scotland have ever claimed x3 Boxing golds at the same Games!! 👏👏#TeamScot #TimeForHeroes pic.twitter.com/V704HYx4D4
— Team Scotland (@Team_Scotland) August 7, 2022
“I’ve been saying from the start that we can do brilliant things and that put a bit of pressure on me after watching both my team-mates go out there and get gold,” said Lynch, a member of the GB squad who won a World Championship medal in 2021.
“We’ve been around each other for so long and I always knew we could reach these kinds of levels. I’m so proud to be part of such a record-breaking team and now my focus switches to going to the Olympics and adding to my medal collection.”
Lynch withstood a cut in the final round and earned a verdict that did not prove wholly popular with the capacity crowd at the NEC, many of whom thought the clever Mauritian had done enough to deny the Scot his historic moment.
Hickey, 22, edged an even closer middleweight final over Australia’s Callum Peters, holding off a strong comeback in the last round from his opponent, while 25-year-old Lazzerini also got a split decision verdict in his light-heavyweight final against Taylor Bevan of Wales.
Four years of bad luck melted away for Eccles as the Pontypool 26-year-old served up an emphatic second-round stoppage of Australia’s Kaye Scott to claim gold in the women’s light-middleweight division.
Eccles had endured a controversial split-decision defeat to England’s Sandy Ryan in the Gold Coast final four years ago and subsequently missed out on a place at the Tokyo Olympics when her body was attacked by a mystery virus and she was denied a second chance by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m always a very optimistic person, but even I started thinking I was suffering a bit of a boxing curse,” said Eccles. “I was starting to think it just wasn’t going to happen.
“Things kept coming up out of the blue – I got to the first qualifier and got attacked by a virus, then I was denied the chance to go to Tokyo. To come through all of this and win gold is just amazing.”