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Sam Hickey wins gold! Dundee boxer in dreamland after Commonwealth Games triumph

Sam Hickey winning gold.
Sam Hickey winning gold.

Lochee fighter Sam Hickey has won boxing gold at the Commonwealth Games.

The 22-year-old former St John’s High School pupil overcame Australia’s Callum Peters in the middleweight final in Birmingham.

And the 75kg showdown was a three-round war and fight-of-the-tournament contender, with Hickey winning a split decision.

It caps an incredible seven days for the Dundee hero, whose glory pursuit only began last Sunday against St Lucia’s Kyghan Mortley.

Sam Hickey on the podium.
Australia's Callum Peters, Silver, Scotland's Sam Hickey wins Gold, Englands Lewis Richardson, Bronze, and South Africa's Simnikiwi Bongco, bronze in the Men's Middle (71-75kg) Final at The NEC on day ten of the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
Australia’s Callum Peters (silver), Scotland’s Sam Hickey (gold), England’s Lewis Richardson (bronze) and South Africa’s Simnikiwi Bongco (bronze).

Stunning stoppage wins at over Nigeria’s Benson Adeyinka and England’s Lewis Richardson sent him to the final against 19-year-old Peters, whose performances during the games have earned rave reviews Down Under.

And it was the Scot – who joked before the fight about giving himself the nickname The Bronze Bomber in a nod to falling short at major tournaments in the past – who prevailed at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).

He is only the second Dundonian to win Commonwealth boxing gold, following in the footsteps of the great Dick McTaggart who was lightweight king in Cardiff in 1958.

‘Incredible battle’

How Hickey and Peters managed to stay on their feet in the final round of Sunday’s bout is anyone’s guess, with both leaving it all in the ring.

Former world middleweight champ Richie Woodhall, commentating on the BBC, was blown away by the contest.

He said: “What a fight! This one was anybody’s.

“They both hit the target with clean shots in the last round.

Sam Hickey evades a shot from Callum Peters.
Sam Hickey evades a shot from Callum Peters.
Callum Peters and Sam Hickey fought a three-round war in the final.

“It was an incredible battle.

“Sam Hickey was pushed all the way and he showed a champion’s heart.

“Hickey took Peters on at what he [Peters] does best.

“The quality of the shots on the inside were with the man from Scotland.

“What a performance that was indeed.”

Fast start for Sam Hickey

Peters may have finished stronger than Hickey – taking the final round on the judges’ scorecards – but it was the Lochee lad who made a blistering start.

The younger man appeared to be caught by surprise at the ferocious attacks from the fighter wearing red.

Hickey was targeting the body to great effect, although he did take a couple of left hooks to the chin which he stood up superbly too.

They traded blows towards the end of the round and this theme continued in the second, with Hickey’s head movement on the inside – as well as his short, sharp hooks – catching the eye in the exchanges.

His coach Craig McEvoy asked him to box and not get caught up in a toe-to-toe battle, which Peters, a fighter growing in confidence, appeared to be relishing.

But Hickey was going out on his shield if he had to and showed unbelievable stamina – and at times shot selection – in the final round.

His chin and his heart proved the equal of his punching power and the right man’s hand was raised at the end of the fight.

‘Huge future ahead’

World light-welterweight champion Josh Taylor – who won boxing gold at Glasgow 2014 – wrote on Twitter: “What a fight @sam_hickey20.

“Take a bow, gold medallist. What a show you’ve put on. Huge future ahead.”

Former world featherweight champ Scott Harrison added: “Congratulations to Sam Hickey on winning the gold medal.”

Sam Hickey’s road to glory

Round of 16: Beat Saint Lucia’s Kyghan Mortley (points)

Sam delivered a punch-perfect display against Mortley in his Commonwealth Games debut.

He won every round and stood up well to his opponent’s rough-house tactics, an approach that saw the man from Saint Lucia deducted a point during the contest.

Mortley tries to land a shot on Hickey.

An explosive start to the round of 16 clash saw both fighters come out swinging, with Hickey’s chin tested by a solid left hook from his opponent.

But the Scot stood firm and soon took over, despite constant holding from Mortley.

Quarter-final: Beat Nigeria’s Benson Adeyinka (stoppage)

The lad from Lochee guaranteed himself a bronze with a stunning quarter-final stoppage.

It was another dominant display and the referee waved it off in the third round after the Nigerian southpaw was badly hurt to the head.

Benson Adeyinka gets standing eight count after being hurt by Sam Hickey.

The end came just moments after Adeyinka was given a standing eight count.

This last-eight display showcased Hickey’s credentials as a finisher.

Semi-final: Beat England’s Lewis Richardson (stoppage)

Hickey avenged the defeat he suffered to Richardson at the European Championships earlier this year – and he did it in style.

Ahead of the bout, the Dundonian claimed his Team GB team-mate had been drawn into toe-to-toe battles during the tournament due to the raucous home crowd, something that would play into his hands.

His prediction was spot on.

Liam Richardson and Sam Hickey face off before the fight.
Lewis Richardson and Sam Hickey face off before the fight.

It was nip and tuck until the end of the first round when Hickey hurt Richardson with a right to the chin, prompting the ref to step in to give him a standing eight count.

The pair traded blows in the second before the Scot floored his opponent with a spectacular right hand.

Richardson said he was fine to continue but the ref called a halt to the contest, sending Hickey into the middleweight final and guaranteeing silver.