Connal fights for Euro title

Bravehearts’ Connal McDonald progressed to the quarterfinals of the European youth championships in Rotterdam after a strong performance against his Israeli opponent.

Yesterday, he faced the current world champion from Russia in a bid to progress to the semi final.

Team Scotland’s 91kg hope McDonald and Israeli boxer Chen both applied a cautious start in order to identify one another’s tactics and style, Connal was the first to start landing the more accurate punching in the exchanges.

The Scot gained the upper hand almost immediately with the faster speed of shot, during both delivery and on the return to snap back into the guard position to defend the incoming counters.

This initiative remained with Connal throughout the first round, with his individual flair not only surpassing his years but more importantly disrupting the rhythm of his Israeli opponent. There could be no doubting the first round went to the Whithorn Braveheart.

By applying a negative defence in the second round to weather an initial storm, Connal didn’t allow his opponent to land any definitive scoring punches, however by taking no action after defending the incoming punches allowed the Israeli to edge the ring dominance battle.

Connal eventually began to nullify this approach, spinning off the front foot as the Israeli pushed forward, catching Chen off balance which forced all his weight over the front foot, therefore providing Connal a static target to unleash forceful combinations. Connal’s lead hook to the body was the Israelis Achilles heel, causing Chen to wince every time.

As the second round had not been quite as clinical as the first, Connal went into the last round still having to force the pace. To ensure the correct punches would have the required effect when thrown, Connal was now using his full punch repertoire whilst throwing his combinations, stringing the first bunch together with speed then finishing with power immediately followed by a tight defence.

The heat in the hall and the long day waiting definitely took its toll on both fighters, but the Braveheart star battled through the fatigue to ensure he stayed on top.

The last 60 seconds saw both boxers look at landing the first and last punch in every exchange, and although Chen was finding success with lateral movement punching, as the final bell sounded an air of optimism came over Team Scotland after Connal’s display of punch repertoire and ring craft. As the referee raised the Scotsman’s hand, a load roar came from the Scottish contingent.