NEWPORT boxer Sean McGoldrick’s dream of making history at Glasgow 2014 is over after a ‘heartbreaking’ semi-final defeat that reopened the debate on headguards in amateur boxing.
The St Joseph’s fighter was beaten by Northern Ireland’s Michael Conlan in his semi-final at the SECC and failed to become the first boxer to retain a Commonwealth Games title.
The 22-year-old, who won gold in the 56kg division in Delhi four years ago, lost a unanimous decision after Conlan was unable to continue following an accidental clash of heads in the second round.
The fight was stopped on medical advice just 13 seconds before the end of the second and the Northern Irish man took the verdict 20-18 with all three judges.
It was a desperately unlucky way to for McGoldrick’s title defence to end and he has to settle for a bronze medal.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said the St Joes star. “He is a world-class fighter but he won’t want to have won like this.
“I would have preferred to have gone three rounds and lost on points.
“I thought I was coming on strong and getting into the fight and I have started slow all week.
“I thought I had lost the first round but coming back into it.
“But he might have had plenty more in the tank. We will never know.
“It’s not bad at 22 to have two Commonwealth medals but it’s a big shame the manner in which this fight ended.”
The defeat will spark fresh debate about amateur boxing now not using headguards, although McGoldrick remains in support of the move, introduced by AIBA last year.
“This is the down side of amateur boxing without headguards,” said the Newport bantamweight.
“I prefer it without the headguards but this is what can happen.
“I could not tell you whether it was a head clash.
“You are always catching punches or elbows but it’s part of boxing with or without headguards.”
It remains to be seen whether Conlan, who had blood pouring down his face in the second round, will be able to fight for gold against England’s Qais Ashfaq.
Watching at ringside, 2004 Olympic champion Amir Khan said headguards must be reinstated.
He said: "I would say headguards need to come back, especially when you've got fighters who are fighting nearly five times a week.
"You might get cut in the first day, on first day you might just get a head clash; you might be the favourite to win the tournament."
But McGoldrick will now focus on making the Team GB squad for the Olympics in Rio after missing London 2012.
“I am in the GB podium squad at the moment,” he added.
“If I keep on working hard hopefully I can secure my place in Rio.
“The future is bright for all Welsh amateur boxers.”