Sunday, April 14, 2024

Stanley finishes fifth at Games

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Wendell Stanley took a well-deserved win in his bout against Thabiso Selby Dlamini at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Photo supplied

Half Moon Bay fighter Wendell Stanley from Revill’s Boxing Gym in Pakuranga came away from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with a fifth overall placing in his 71kg division out of 21 boxers.

He now has his eye on the Olympics in France in 2024.

Stanley was away for four weeks including two weeks at a training camp in Belfast with the New Zealand team. The training camp was held at the university of Ulster and had teams from Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Australia and a team from Saudi Arabia who were there for experience.

The camp was a tough one with three sessions a day and sparring against other countries’ boxers every two  days.

Stanley had an excellent camp with top sparring against the current 71kg England and European Champ Mohammed Akbar and Olympic Bronze medallist from Northern Ireland Aidan Walsh (who went on to win Commonwealth Gold), along with others to get him ready for the games.

He said the training helped prepare him for the pressure that he was going to face at the games and the experience from facing international boxers in sparring gave him all the confidence he needed to get his games off to a great start.

Stanley was one of 21 boxers in the 71kg division which was one of the strongest divisions with many boxers competing at Olympic games and world championships while others won medals at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

He drew the bye in the round of 32, which meant he was through to round 16 and faced Thabiso Selby Dlamini who on paper looked the more experienced boxer who was now taking part in his third Commonwealth Games. He had competed at the 2020 Olympics as well as the world champs and was a multiple-African champion.

Stanley his opponent with a body shot in the second round causing the referee to stop the fight part giving him the win.

Stanley went through to the round of eight (quarter finals) where one more win would have put him into the medal round. He faced Tiago Muxanga from Mozambique who is a known puncher and had stopped his previous opponent.

This was the fight of the night with the crowd giving both boxers a standing ovation. Many thought Stanley had won the bout but the decision went the other way via a split decision.

Although disappointed with the result, he is determined to compete in the Olympics which is two years away in Paris.

New Zealand Boxing Coach Billy Meehan was very impressed with Stanley, praising his work effort and skill level at the highest level of the sport. His opponent went on to claim the silver medal.

Back home in New Zealand Wendell is having a well deserved rest before he gets back to training at Revills Boxing Gym in New Zealand. Lance Revill, head coach at Revill’s Gym, is proud of Wendell and was impressed with his performance and is looking forward to what is next with the young boxer.

Meanwhile the gym itself has been busy with other boxers winning local tournaments and the gym being well-represented at the upcoming Howick sports awards, which includes finalists from the gym in Sportsman of the year, Youth Sportsman of the year, Official of the year, Club of the year and Coach of the year.

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