Tyler Jolly survived a knockdown to guarantee Scotland’s fifth boxing medal at the Commonwealth Games and is channelling late basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s mantra to take gold.
Welterweight Jolly, 23, recovered from being dropped by a sweet shot from Papua New Guinea’s Neville Warupi in the second round to claim a unanimous points victory and progress to the semi-final at Birmingham’s NEC.
Jolly claimed youth Commonwealth gold in the Bahamas in 2017 and will have a shot at replicating that success at senior level if he can avenge last year’s defeat to Wales’ European bronze medallist Ioan Croft on Saturday.
Jolly said: “Kobe Bryant used to say the jobs not finished until it's finished. I'm here for one thing and that's the gold medal.
“He [Warupi] caught me with a peach overhand right, a big swinger, I walked right into it. It's my own fault.
“I touched and I was straight back up and I laughed. It was a peach of a shot, but I wasn't hurt. Straight back to business. It switched me back on.
“Croft is a skilful boxer, but I showed there I've got great heart, I can dig deep when I need to. I can box when I need to.
“I've got great punching power. I don't need to rely on it though. Whoever's in my way is going to get beat.
“I boxed him last year and I'll hold my hands up, it was one of my worst performances to date. I wasn't switched on, I wasn't fit.
“It was a split decision, it was close. At my worst it was close. I'm at my best now and it's going to be mine."
Edinburgh tiling instructor Matty McHale insisted he won’t settle for bronze after powering his way onto the podium behind his “world class jab”.
McHale, 26, teaches people a trade for a day job and handed out a boxing lesson to Malaysia’s Muhammad Ahmad Shaharom, stopping him in the third round of their quarter-final contest.
The bantamweight faces precocious Northern Irish youngster Dylan Eagleson, who showboated his way into the semis, for a place in the final on Saturday.
McHale said: “I know that I’ve got a world class jab, so I just stuck with that. I had no info on this guy whatsoever, so I just had to box and figure him out in the first round.
“After he landed a couple, I knew my reach and my advantages were too much for him. I’m big at the weight, I’m tall and fast. It was overwhelming for him.
“I’m over the moon with that performance, I’m into my stride now. It took me a fight to get warmed up and now I’m there, you are going to see that continuously.
“It makes me feel good to guarantee a medal, but we aren’t here for bronze, we are going to change that colour now baby.”
It was not all good news in the ring as devastated flyweight Lennon Mulligan was unable to progress alongside McHale and Jolly, who joined Wednesday’s winners Sam Hickey, Reese Lynch, and Sean Lazzerini in securing at least bronze.
Mulligan was on the wrong side of a clean sweep of the judges’ scorecards against India’s Amit Panghal, the reigning Commonwealth and world silver medallist, but vowed to return to the Games at Victoria 2026.
He said: “I’m devastated. I gave it my all, but it just wasn’t good enough.
“I’ve got no complaints with the scorecards; I didn’t win the fight.
“I lost to one of the top guys in the world and on another day, I’d beat that guy as well.”
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