Downhill always presented the opportunity for greater heights and in the buoyant atmosphere of the National Exhibition Center in Sunderland, Ciaran MacDonald lived to the fullest.
Three months ago, MacDonald made his way to the European Championship final in Yerevan, Armenia. He was very confident in his ability to win but failed, losing to Spaniard Martin Molina by unanimous decision. Despite winning the silver medal, he was shaken.
“I was completely sad,” he said. “I beat the boy I lost to in the final before, so it hurt more. It kind of felt good, which you can’t do at this level because everyone is upping their game and getting better all the time. You have to keep going. I think that will lead me to “.
As MacDonald was working his way into the Commonwealth Final on Saturday, the pain of that defeat pushed him forward. He made a full display of his skills and abilities in a one-sided semi-final match with Jake Dodd of Wales, his teammate GB. From the start, MacDonald’s wit and speed managed to neutralize Dodd’s sometimes ruthless aggression. He was in constant motion, picking his shots meticulously as Dodd couldn’t keep up.
Having survived the first round, Dodd dropped twice in the second round and swung a strong right hook that contrasted with his 5-foot-5-inch stature. In the third round, MacDonald eliminated him. He fired a sinister right hook straight into Dodd’s jaw, as his massive force collapsed Dodd’s legs, causing him to slide back onto the canvas and push MacDonald into the final.
“I gave it a nice, crunchy finish. Put a little silvery side on that,” he said with a smile. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. We will be back again tomorrow. I want to be on top of that podium.”
At the end of his revenge tour, MacDonald meets Amit Bangal of India, silver medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast and former silver medalist at the World Championships. It’s a tough community but MacDonald will take with him the lessons he learned from the European final.
“I’m not being too arrogant,” he said. “When you feel like you have nothing left, you can always dig deep and find something inside of you. I have a feeling you don’t want those feelings again. I was so sad when you lost, so I can’t leave it to chance this time. I will absolutely fight heart and soul.” And what that day would be. He’s a world-class competitor, but there’s another contender on my resume.”
In a busy day of semi-finals in both genders and weight classes, several British boxers made it to the finals. Scotland’s Sam Hickey took revenge on the European champion in another bout between his GB teammates, this time defeating Louis Richardson in the men’s middleweight division before knocking him out with a devastating right hook. Richardson had beaten a hickey in the European semi-finals and won a silver medal.
The victories continued throughout the day. In the women’s lightweight category, Englishman Demi-Jade Restan took a big win over Lithabo Modukanel. Rosie Eccles of Wales beat Erin Nugent of Northern Ireland in the women’s light middleweight class, and Scottish Shaun Lazzerini meets Taylor Bevan of Wales in the men’s heavyweight final.
Despite their defeats, three nations confirmed their first medals at this year’s Commonwealth Games; Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia won bronze medals thanks to Modukanele, Alcinda Panguane and Patrick Chinyemba.