Aussie in Games boxing ‘robbery’
CONTROVERSY has exploded in the women's 57kg boxing final with Aussie star Skye Nicolson awarded the gold medal in a split judges decision.
The 22-year-old sensation collected her gold medal in an incredibly uncomfortable medal presentation ceremony which left her opponent Michaela Walsh visibly "distressed".
The Northern Ireland fighter was devastated as she left the ring after the split judges decision had been announced.
In an incredibly even fight where both fighters struggled to land any meaningful blows across the three rounds, three of the five judges handed the fight to the Aussie 29-28 on their scorecards. Two judged handed the fight to Walsh, believing she had done enough to win two of the rounds.
It was a scene of pure euphoria for Nicolson, who had became the most talked about Aussie boxer heading into the Games after revealing her incredible preparation for the event.
She said before the Games she will be fighting to honour the memory of her brothers Gavin and Jamie (a Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning boxer), who tragically died in a car accident one year before she was born.
It was her moment to shine, but as she celebrated, her rival was left inconsolable.
The BBC reported Walsh's camp believe their fighter was robbed as a result of Nicolson's undeniable home crowd advantage.
"No media for Michaela Walsh just yet. She is absolutely devastated," the BBC's Luke Reddy said.
"Tears and shock for her. There's a sense it was "robbery" from some of the Northern Ireland team.
"There's no time to dwell on it though. She's already out to pick up her medal. I'd like to say she was smiling. But I'd be lying."
Walsh was overcome with the emotion of defeat during the medal presentation and appeared to fight back tears during the Australian national anthem.
"I have never seen a more distressed athlete on a medal podium than Michaela Walsh," Reddy told The BBC.
"She obviously feels robbed of gold. She has just hugged winner Skye Nicolson though as they pose for photos.
"Walsh came off the podium with a face like thunder. Her defeat to Australia's Skye Nicolson has prompted controversy ringside"
Walsh told the BBC the judges' decision was impossible for her to accept after she was also denied gold in the gold medal fight at the Glasgow Games four years ago when she lost to Nicola Adams.
"I don't think she hit me with anything," Walsh said of Nicolson.
"She's the face of the Games, it is what it is.
"At least in 2014 it was close. This time I won full stop."
ABC Grandstand's Corbin Middlemas said the vocal crowd may have been decisive.
"A huge roar here from the locals and they may just be enough to sway the judges in rounds that are very hard to separate," he said in commentary.
None of the swirling controversy could take the glow off Nicolson's face. She was also pure class towards her opponent.
"I have no words. I'm so excited right now, over the moon. The best feeling I've ever felt in my life," she said.
"I'm so glad I got to enjoy the moment with mum and dad and thinking of (brother) Jamie (Olympic boxer who died in a car crash) 100 per cent. I'm so glad I got this gold medal for my family and for him."
"I always knew it was going to be a tough fight and a chess match. I always hoped I would meet her in the final. We were both wanting to draw each other in.
"I just took the chance and be the one that went forward. She's a great boxer."
Nicolson and Walsh actually sparred together at a recent training camp at the AIS in Canberra.