Whithorn’s pride and joy, Tyler Jolly, stamped his authority all over the Commonwealth Youth Games boxing competition taking the gold medal.
In Sunday’s 64kg welterweight final in the Bahamian capital Nassau, the talented Scot beat the Welsh boxer, and current British champion, Jacob Lovell after three bruising rounds.
Tyler’s coach from the Whithorn Bravehearts Boxing Club, Tom Jolly, also his uncle, was in the Bahamas to witness Tyler’s greatest triumph.
He said: “Tyler has been training for this moment for the last 12 months, attending training camps as part of Boxing Scotland Youth Team most weekends in Glasgow, and away training camps in Brisbane, Australia; Stirling and Belfast as well as training with his home club in Whithorn.
“Tyler was lucky enough to receive a bye in the first round of the competition, and meet the winner of Canada v New Zealand in the quarter-finals.
“Tyler’s first bout was against a tall wiry Canadian Hamaz Khabbaz who proved to be a tough competitor.
“As Tyler entered the ring his travelling supporters cheers and chants rang loud across the arena.
“As the first bell rang Tyler settled in to a rhythm of strong jabs, changing the angle quickly and countering with his back hand over the top of the Canadian’s defence. “This seemed to unsettle the strong orthodox boxer from Canada who walked on to Tyler’s blistering hooks as the closing seconds of the first round approached, the referee saw the Canadian wobble and jumped in to give him a mandatory eight count to give him some relief.
“Round two and three developed in to a masterclass of boxing technique with both boxers working at range and having some success with head shots, but it was Scotland’s Jolly who was having the last punch and creating angles that caught blistering hooks to the body of the Canadian.
“The result was a spilt decision to Scotland.
“Team Scotland had five out of eight boxers reach the bronze medal semi-finals on Saturday, only two were to continue to the finals on Sunday welterweight Jolly and Light heavyweight Lewis Johnstone.
“In the semi-final, Tyler’s opponent was Grenada’s championship boxer Rufus Vesprey. Tyler had done his research on this very tall, strong boxer from the Caribbean and at the bell set off at a fast pace to unsettle his opponent.
“The Grenadian boxer’s defence began to crumble under the Scottish onslaught of punches, and the referee jumped in to give him relief with a standing eight count. Tyler took instructions from his coaches after the referee restarted the bout, the Scotsman setting forth with a blistering combination of head and body shots that caused Vesprey to receive a second eight count to save him from any more punishment. The referee had seen enough and declared a technical knock out, putting Scotland’s Tyler into the final.
In Sunday’s final, Tyler’s opponent was a familiar face, Welshman and current British champion Jacob Lovell, who’s route to the final saw him dispose of the champions from Australia and Botswana respectfully.
“After the early morning weigh in, Tyler was in good spirits and eager to get in to the ring for the championship bout. “Scotland was sitting with four bronze medal from the boxing competition, and Tyler was keen to up the anti.
“After the fan fare of introduction finished and the bell sounded for the first round, Welshman Lovell bounced out of the corner with bent arm punches trying to hook the Scotsman, but Jolly stuck to his instructions and took control of the distance and steadily jabbed and back handed his opponent at will, changing angles, slipping and ducking the hooks of Lovell to great effect.
“Round two saw the Welshman change tactics in a bid to unsettle Jolly’s rhythm, when he tried to jump in close to hook the head then body. This tied up both boxers, with the Welshman holding on the blind side. But Jolly remained calm and collected and did not react to the Welshman’s tactics. Soon Jolly’s international experience began to show and he took control of the round, side stepping and countering with an over hand right.
“The third and final round was at a blistering pace with both boxers keen to impress the five ring-side judges and the capacity crowd. Jolly followed his instructions and held his position firm in the centre of the ring and dictated the range, scoring with powerful jabs every time the Welshman charged forward with his combination of left and right hooks.
“The ebb and flow of punches from both boxers was a joy for the spectators who were all on their feet shouting and cheering on the two champions.
“As the referee ended the bout and the judges score cards were collected showing a unanimous win to Scotland’s Tyler Jolly.
“This is an amazing achievement, our Bravehearts boxer winning a Commonwealth Youth gold medal in the Bahamas. It fill us all with pride.
“Tyler always said he would bring the gold home and by God he did. Our wee town in Wigtownshire is shining Gold.”
Scotland boxers out in the Bahamas won three bronze, one silver and Tyler gold.
Scottish Government Sports Minister Aileen Campbell sent her congratulations to the Scotland team. She said: “Finishing fourth in the table, with 21 medals is an absolutely fantastic achievement and I hope everyone in Scotland will join me in saying congratulations to our young athletes.
“Having just marked the third anniversary of the best ever Commonwealth Games, and as we look forward to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Scotland co-hosting the European Championships next year, I’m delighted to see the Games Legacy living on through these inspirational young people. “They’re great role models for their friends and other aspiring young athletes, and I hope they’re all incredibly proud of themselves.”