For the past two years, Andrew Moloney has woken up, stared at his phone and seen nothing but the logo for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
The Victorian left Delhi devastated at his quarter-final defeat, to Northern Ireland's impressive Paddy Barnes, but hungry to make amends four years late. Under the dome of the imposing Hydro, on the banks of the River Clyde, Moloney would do just that.
Moloney has impressed everyone with his discipline and control in the ring and needed all of his smarts to take the flyweight gold medal after a torrid bout with Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem.
Waseem wasn’t impressed with the result, letting fly with a series of expletives in the mixed zone as he sailed past media like a tornado of angst, but the verdict was never in doubt. Moloney took the unanimous decision and the gold was his at last.
Moloney is a far more polished fighter in Scotland than he was in India. And his victory capped off a wonderful first session of finals for the Australians, with Shelley Watts walloping her way to an historic gold earlier in the day.
Under the impeccable coaching of Kevin Smith and Don Abnett, Moloney kept his cool and timed his raids well to set up a two-round lead as the free-throwing Waseem, who had come to fight, couldn’t match the Australian technician.
With nothing to lose, Waseem took round three but by then the bird had flown. Moloney had seen Watts stand atop the podium and from then, was never going to be denied.
“After I saw her (Watts) and just before I walked in the ring they had the national anthem on. There was no way I was going to go out second best,” Moloney said.
The personal trainer said he hadn’t thought about whether to turn pro or press on towards Rio, admitting he hadn’t once looked past the goal of winning gold in Glasgow. Every time he checked his phone, he had a reminder right in front of his eyes.
“It’s all I’ve thought about for the past four years. I’ve had the Glasgow background on my phone for the past two years. All I wanted was the gold medal here. I’ll go home and relax then think about it,” Moloney said.
Moloney said the Australian trio fighting for gold – super heavyweight Joe Goodall being the other – had formed a tight bond before the finals before preparing for their respective bouts.
“We all gave each other encouragement and said let’s go and get three gold medals today. But boxing is a very individual sport. Everyone prepares differently and gets in their own head space,” he said.
After not winning a medal of any colour in Delhi, Australian boxing has enjoyed a strong tournament in Scotland. Daniel Lewis would have been another strong chance for gold if a bad cut hadn’t ruined his tournament.
While the tournament lacks the standard bearers from Russia and the Ukraine, the Games remains an important stepping stone for Australian fighters. Jarrod Fletcher and Daniel Geale are just two world-class pros to have emerged from the tournament over the years.
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