GWENT fighter Rosie Eccles took a giant step closer to European Championships gold after knocking Olympic rival Sandy Ryan out at the quarter-final stage in Madrid.

Eccles sent out a big message to the selectors for Tokyo 2020 as she gained a split decision victory (3-2) over the woman who beat her to the Commonwealth Games crown last year.

The 23-year-old from Caerleon will now face Angela Carini in tomorrow’s semi-finals following the Italian’s defeat of the Czech Republic’s Martina Schmoranzova.

A place in the final four of the 69kg welterweight divisions means GB Boxing’s Eccles is guaranteed at least a bronze medal – she won silver in the same competition in 2016.

Two of the three judges who awarded Eccles the contest did so with a 30-27 scoreline, the third scored it 29-28 in the Welsh boxer’s favour.

Eccles had reached the quarters with a comfortable points triumph over Spain’s Patricia Martin Cabrera.