Commonwealth Games 2002
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Boxing Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Smith earns McEwan semi

England's Paul Smith and Scottish light-middleweight Craig McEwan set up an all-British semi-final by coming through tight contests in Manchester on Wednesday.

Ghanian officials were enraged when their fighter Thomas Awimbono was on the wrong end of a 21-17 verdict against Liverpool man Smith.
Paul Smith celebrates victory
Smith said he got "dragged into a war"

Awimbono refused to shake Smith's hand after the bout and sank to the canvas in huge disappointment.

After two close opening rounds, Awimbono appeared to dominate the third session when Smith also received a public warning.

The fourth round seemed to be closer but the African appeared to have done enough to take the victory.

However, Smith insisted after the bout that he had shaded the outcome.

"I got dragged into a war which I shouldn't have done but my fitness told in the end and I know I won the fight," said the Englishman.

"I'm just glad to get this one out of the way. His style of coming straight forward unhinged me a bit."

A furious Ghanian team official claimed the decision had been "totally unfair".

open quote
It's a championship and it's all about winning
end quote
Paul Smith

"We are happy that we won the fight in our hearts because we know that we couldn't win it in the ring," said the official.

Scotland's Craig McEwan earned his semi-final chance against Smith by claiming a 16-13 over South Africa's Khotso Motau.

McEwan overcame a standing count in the first round to join compatriot Andrew Young in being guaranteed a boxing bronze.

Welsh hope Tony Doherty suffered huge disappointment in the welterweight quarter-finals.

Irish-born Doherty was in a rage after his bout against Namibia's Ali Nuumbembe had been stopped because of a cut in the opening round.

Doherty claimed the African had caught him with an elbow which caused a deep cut over his right eye.

"I'm absolutely devastated. All my hopes down the drain," said Doherty.

"He was absolutely made for me with the way he came forward.

open quote
I was surprised to be nine points down after the first round
end quote
Colin McNeil

"But he caught me with that elbow and the fight's over.

"I can't believe what's happened. I've never had a cut before."

Scottish medal hope Colin McNeil was overwhelmed by Nigeria's Kwanele Zulu in their quarter-final, with the bout stopped in the second round under the 15-point rule.

"I'm very disappointed but that's boxing," said McNeil.

"I was surprised to be nine points down after the first round and even more surprised to be given a standing count with a punch that didn't hurt me.

"But it's sport at the end of the day and I'll have to get over it."

London-born Tony Cesay's hopes of winning Sierra Leone's first Commonwealth Games medal in any sport were dashed.

The 32-year-old welterweight, who previously boxed for England, was beaten 25-13 by Australian Daniel Geale in the quarter-finals.

After his defeat, Cesay bemoaned his lack of recent competitive activity.

"Prior to the Games, I'd only had two fights in the last seven months and that really told against me today," said the father-of-two.

Wales welterweight Tony Doherty
"This is the first time I've ever been cut"
England's Paul Smith
"I want gold"
Scotland's Craig McEwan
"To get a medal is a bonus"

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