Despite seven boxers qualifying for the finals, Africa finished without a single gold medal in the Commonwealth Games boxing tournament which ended Sunday, August 7, in Birmingham, England.
Africa won a total of 19 medals, seven silver and 12 bronze medals which was an improvement from the seven medals won in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Namibia’s light welter Jonas Junias Jonas took home gold in that tourney, a feat that wasn’t accomplished by any African boxer in this latest event.
Ghana and Mozambique topped the African countries, tying for eight placve with two silver and one bronze each. They were followed by Nigeria which won one silver and three bronze. Zambia collected one silver and one bronze, Mauritius one silver, Tanzania and South Africa two bronze each and Uganda and Botswana took home one bronze each.
Ghana featherweight Joseph Commey, one of seven African boxers to reach the finals, was ruled unfit to take part in his gold medal bout against Northern Ireland’s Jude Gallagher who won in a walkover.
A statement from the organizers said: “Boxer Joseph Commey failed today’s medical check. The winner is Jude Gallagher by walkover.” It was not immediately known what ailment the Ghanaian boxer, who settled for silver, was suffering from.
In addition to Commey, the other silver medalists from Africa were Ghana’s bantamweight Abraham Mensah, Mauritius’ light-welterweight Olympian Richarno Colin, Mozambican light-middleweight Tiago Muxanga, Nigeria’s featherweight Elizabeth Oshoba, Zambia’s welterweight Stephen Zimba and world championships bronze medallist Rady Gramane from Mozambique.
Mensah lost 5-0 to Northern Ireland’s Dylan James Eagleson, Colin was beaten 4-1 by Scotland’s Reese Lynch, Muxanga went down 5-0 to Northern Ireland’s Olympic bronze medallist Aidan Walsh who won a silver medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Oshoba was outpointed 5-0 by Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh, sister to Aidan Walsh, Zimba lost 5-0 to Loan Croft of Wales and Gramane from whom much was expected from went down 5-0 to world middleweight champion Tammara Thibeault from Canada.
Among the notable achievements by the African teams came from Tanzania, Uganda and Botswana.
After a 24-year drought in the Commonwealth Games, Tanzania finally bounced back, winning two bronze medals via light-middleweight Kassim Mbundwike and light-heavyweight Yusuf Changalawe. The two medals enabled Tanzania to finish as the top placed East African country, ahead of Uganda and Kenya, both once among the world’s superpowers in the ring but currently going through a lean spell.
Botswana’s Lethabo Modukanele made history by becoming the first female boxer from her country to qualify for the semi-finals of the Commonwealth Games as outpointing Sri Lanka’s Nadeeka Pushpakumari in the minimumweight category. She ultimaterly lost on points 5-0 in the semis to England’s Demi-Jade Resztan.
Uganda’s light-flyweight Teddy Nakimuli also made history by becoming the first female boxer from the East African country to win a medal in the Commonwealth Games. Nakimuli’s bronze came courtesy of a walkover in the quarter-finals after her Sierra Leone opponent Sara Haghighat failed to make weight. In the semis, Nakimuli was beaten 5-0 by Northern Ireland’s Carly McNaul.
There were isolated cases of biased officiating involving African boxers, the most notable one being the semi-final flyweight bout between Zambia’s Patrick Chinyemba who lost in a controversial 5-0 decision to India’s Amit Panghal.
Zambia’s assistant coach and former international boxer Kennedy Mushoke Kanyanta were furious, appealing to the International Boxing Association (IBA) to censure the five judges.
“My boxer was in control in the first and third rounds but we were surprised how the judges awarded the fight to Panghal, he also looked surprised when he was declared the winner,” said Kanyanta who won gold in the flyweight division at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
“The judges displayed the highest level of unprofessionalism. I’m surprised why the IBA is silent on this questionable decision yet they were flagged by the International Olympic Committee on corrupt judges during the 2016 Olympic Games. I’m calling upon IBA to take stern action on the five judges failure to which we will move to IOC.”
The first judge Mazian Amzah from Malaysia scored 29-28, second judge Germany’s Susan Kopke 29-28, third judge Botswana’s Etsogile Ngwako 29-28, Canada’s Jennifer Hugging 30-27 and Mongolia’s Tsogtgerel Tserenkhand 29-28.
Northern Ireland emerged the overall winners of the Commonwealth Games boxing tournament with five gold, one silver and one bronze followed by India three gold, one silver and three bronze with Scotland finishing third on three gold and two bronze.