Delicious Orie turned his focus to emulating Anthony Joshua after surviving a tough and clear Commonwealth Games final against Sagar Ahlawat to become England’s latest super heavyweight gold medallist.
The Birmingham 25-year-old lost the first round on all five judges’ cards before rallying to claim a unanimous decision win and take the hosts’ final gold medal tally to two on the final day of competition at the NEC.
England heavyweight Lewis Williams also won gold, Scotland trio Reese Lynch, Sam Hickey and Sean Lazzerini made history for Scotland, Welsh duo Rosie Eccles and Ioan Croft also topped the podium and there was an incredible five gold medals for Northern Ireland.
But the end of the contest belonged to Orie, who desperately slipped through the final round, rebuffing the Indian’s tough advances and leaving his opponent nursing a bloody cut around his left eye.
“I may have been doubted, but I always want to prove people wrong,” Orie said. “I’m so proud to be English and represent England and I can’t wait for the Olympics in Paris.”
The 6ft 6ins Orie, who was born in Russia and came through a grueling battle to secure his British passport last year, becomes the latest in a long line of home nation stars in the sport’s heaviest division, none more so than Joshua.
Orie, who has been training with Joshua in Sheffield, added: “The sky’s the limit. My inspiration has always been Anthony Joshua and what he has achieved is a minimum. I am the next generation and we will excel.”
Leamington heavyweight Williams was England’s other winner, with a unanimous decision over Samoa’s Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali, while Croft’s was a clear and classy win over Zambia’s Stephen Zimba.
Lynch completed a Scottish gold medal rush with a split decision win over Louis Collin of Mauritius which marked the first time Scotland have won three boxing gold medals at the same Commonwealth Games.
The 21-year-old light-welterweight received the verdict on all but one of the five judges’ cards to emulate his compatriots Hickey and Lazzerini.
“I’ve said from the start that we can do brilliant things and it put a bit of pressure on me after seeing both of my team-mates go out and get gold,” said Lynch, a member of the GB squad that won a World Championships medal in 2021.
“We’ve been around each other for so long and I always knew we could reach these levels. I am so proud to be part of such a record-breaking team and now my focus changes to going to the Olympics and adding to my medal collection.”
Lynch endured a cut in the final round and received a verdict that proved unpopular with the capacity crowd at the NEC, many of whom believed the smart Mauritian had done enough to deny the Scot his historic moment.
Hickey, 22, went an even closer middleweight final over Australia’s Callum Peters, holding off a strong last-round comeback from his opponent, while 25-year-old Lazzerini also earned a split decision in his light-heavyweight final against Taylor Bevan of Wales.
Four years of bad luck melted away for Eccles as the Pontypool 26-year-old served up an emphatic second-round stoppage of Australia’s Kaye Scott to claim gold in the women’s light-middleweight division.
Eccles had endured a controversial split decision defeat to England’s Sandy Ryan in the Gold Coast final four years ago and then missed out on a place at the Tokyo Olympics when her body was attacked by a mystery virus and she was denied a second chance by coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m always a very optimistic person, but even I was starting to think I was suffering from a bit of a boxing curse,” Eccles said. “I started to think it just wasn’t going to happen.
“Things kept popping up out of the blue – I got to the first qualifier and was attacked by a virus, then I was denied the chance to go to Tokyo. To come through all that and win gold is just amazing.”