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Islington Boxing Club star dismayed by controversial Commonwealth Games exit

15:25 26 July 2014

Ryan Charles (right) in action against Australia

Ryan Charles (right) in action against Australia's Jordan Samardali at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Islington BC light-heavyweight Ryan Charles’ Commonwealth Games medal hopes ended in controversy on Friday night.

Fighting under the flag of St Lucia, the 27-year-old was left with head in hands at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre when the hand of Australian opponent Jordan Samardali was raised at the conclusion of their last 32 clash.

The decision was inexplicable, given Charles had forced two standing counts on the Aussie who did little more than posturing over the three rounds.

Spectators roundly booed the decision, while Aussie supporters, raucous through most of the evening, were conspicuously silent.

When he found his voice an angry Charles said: “I’ve been robbed blind.

“I feel like someone has been in my pocket when I’ve not been looking and taken all my money, credit cards and everything else – unbelievable, everyone knows I won that fight.

“I could have sworn that when you give someone a standing count it makes it automatically a 10-8 round and I got two, so it should have been a 10-7 round really.

“I feel very uplifted to get all that support from the crowd. Even though I did not officially get the decision I feel like I am the people’s champion.”

Charles is not the first boxer to be on the wrong end of a ropey decision at a major boxing championship – history is littered with them.

However, for a man who was one of just four boxing hopefuls for St Lucia that will be of little consolation, particularly given his commitment to get down to the Under-81kg limit from cruiserweight in order to represent the Caribbean island.

A cagey first round passed with the Australian constantly taunting Charles to come and get him, the north London man just unable to find the range with his right hand.

That changed midway through the second as a short left, followed by a long right hand over the top, sent the Aussie hurtling towards the ropes.

A second right followed but, with Samardali reeling, the referee stepped in to administer the standing eight count before Charles could deliver the knockout blow.

Charles claimed he would have finished it there and then, but for the official’s intervention.

He said: “I had a free shot at him – if I had hit him again with another right hand I think he would have gone.”

However, Charles soon had his man in trouble again, blocking a swing from his groggy opponent before clubbing him with a big left hook.

The bell came to the Aussie’s rescue and, while Charles’ intensity was not the same in the last round, he did more than enough to win that too in the opinion of just about everyone other than the judges at ringside

Despite his disappointment, Charles insisted he had felt great at the lower weight and fighting without a headguard, following the recent change in championship rules.

He added: “I found I was so much stronger and he did not hurt me at all. The only thing was I wasn’t as sharp, but I think that will come as time goes on.

“I preferred fighting without the headguards as well. When you have got them on I find it hard to see the hooks coming around the sides.”

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