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October 15, 2019
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Saunders gives British boxing team a boost

Beijing , 10.8.2008 20:48, (AFP)

Teenager boxer Billy Joe Saunders gave the British team a lift as he thrashed Turkey's world number three Adem Kilicci 14-3 to advance into the last 16 of the Olympic welterweight competition here Sunday.

The team was rocked ahead of the boxing tournament by the late withdrawal of Frankie Gavin, one of Britain's best hopes for a gold medal in any sport in Beijing, after the world lightweight champion failed to make the weight.

Saunders, who comes from a traditional travelling family in Hertfordshire, north-west of London, refused to get carried away by his victory.

"This (bout) is the best for me because it's a fairly tough draw with the world championship bronze medallist (Kilicci), a Cuban (Carlos Banteaux Correa) and, I think, the 2007 world championship silver medallist (Thailand's Manus Boonjumnong) too. I've got a long road ahead."

British boxing team coach Terry Edwards couldn't hide his delight.

"I think that was a very mature performance by the youngest member of our team. He's not even 19 yet. He's got a good brain and he's tremendously quick," said Edwards.

There was a major surprise among the light-welterweights as Ireland's Johnny Joyce ended a run of three straight defeats against reigning European champion Gyula Kate, beating the Hungarian 9-5.

"God was on my side," said Joyce. "The guy hit me with so many right hooks in the last three fights but he didn't touch me this time. I could see it in his eyes after two rounds he was surprised that I was still there."

He added: "I couldn't lose to him anymore, four times would have been bad. I figured out that when he (Kate) has finished attacking, he just stands there and that's when I can attack."

Meanwhile, a perplexed Kate was left struggling to explain his shock exit.

"I have fought him three times and beaten him three times, so I'm not sure what happened today. His style was quite uncomfortable."

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