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Wednesday, 31 July, 2002, 18:45 GMT 19:45 UK

Home fighters on glory trail

By John Haughey
BBC Sport Online in Manchester

Light-flyweight Darran Langley and middleweight Steven Birch boosted England's guaranteed medal haul from the Commonwealth Games.

Langley comfortably outpointed Ghana's Joseph Martey 23-8 in their quarter-final while Birch won the all-British battle against Scotland's Stephen Maguire to advance to the middleweight last four.

Postman Langley completed an impressive display by forcing Martey to take a standing count in the final round.

Langley said that he had been suffering from a cold since the weekend, but added: "Nothing was going to stop me winning that fight tonight.

Malaysian opponent

"I boxed well within myself and picked my shots and I'm very pleased with the way it went.

"The mood in the team is great and those who have lost are still here cheering us on and making us cups of tea and things.

"We have got medals but none of us will be satisfied unless they're gold."

Langley will meet Zamzai Mohamad in the semi-finals on Thursday evening.

The Malaysian edged out Namibia's Joseph Jermia 14-13 to earn his place in the last four.

Middleweight Birch had to take a standing count in the third round against Maguire, but he had dominated the opening two sessions and claimed a 33-20 win.

"I promised my baby son that I would bring home the gold medal"
A tearful Steven Bell

"I had a great first two rounds and over the last couple of rounds I was trying to conserve my energy for my next fight," said Birch.

The Englishman's semi-final opponent on Thursday will be Indian Jitender Kumar who defeated Murtala Abdulsalam of Nigeria.

England captain Steven Bell was in tears after losing to Canadian Benoit Gaudet at featherweight.

Bell was floored in the second round and struggled against the counterpunching Canadian.

The 27-year-old Manchester man broke down as he said: "I promised my baby son that I would bring home the gold medal.

Allen beaten

"I wanted it so much and in the end I just couldn't do it.

"I thought he did enough to win because he caught me a couple of times.

"But he didn't want to fight which is what boxing is all about."

Middleweight Michael Allen's hopes of joining Welsh colleagues Kevin Evans and Jamie Arthur in winning a medal were ended by Canadian Michael Walchuk, who won 34-21.


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