Four golds for England in Serbia

January 19, 2020 | by Matt Halfpenny


Team England claimed four gold medals on the first day of finals at the Nations Cup for Women in Sombor, Serbia.

Megan Bainbridge celebrated her 17th birthday by climbing to the top step of the podium in the Youth 48kg category – after moving up from Junior at the start of the year – as she beat Alena Stepanova.

The typically strong Russian didn’t stop Bainbridge’s rhythm and she landed the cleaner shots, utilising her feet to avoid counter punches, helping her to claim a 4-1 split decision.

The superb win for the Brandon boxer (below) saw England gain some form or revenge after team-mate, Shelby-Marie Lee, was beaten by Stepanova in the semi-finals.

Alice Pumphrey underlined her class as she fought Slovenian Naca Nikoloveber, who was two weights above her normal weight, yet she still emerged an emphatic victor after a first-round stoppage.

The Sharpstyle boxer’s strong start forced her opponent onto ropes for most of the the opening round rand that dominance led the referee issuing two standing counts and then stopping the contest.

Amber Moss-Birch and Paris Smith were the two other Three Lions boxers to land gold medals after wins against Chinese and Croatian opponents respectively.

Golden Ring boxer Moss-Birch (below) showed her power against Wenqi Zhang by forcing three standing counts before eventually stopping her opponent for good in the third round.

The English boxer settled in to the bout by finding her range and giving a standing count in the second round. She went on to dominate with the cross against her southpaw opponent, giving her two further counts in the third to wrap up the win.

Legions gym boxer Smith, meanwhile, took on Nika Lopac and kept it long, picking her shots well.

She gave the Croatian two standing counts in the first round, stopping the contest and ensuring victory.

Four other England finalists fell at the last hurdle but could nevertheless reflect on an excellent tournament.

Sophie Harker, Jessica Keeton, Abby Briggs and Courtney Cox had all claimed at least one success earlier in the tournament, only to come up against tough opposition from Cyprus, Greece and Russia.

It was the battle of the European champions when Harker (below) stepped up a weight to compete against Laila Amptoullativ.

The England boxer, from Middlesbrough, landed some good shots against the aggressive Cypriot, but it wasn’t enough to unsettle her opponent, who claimed a 5-0 success.

Keeton faced Loanna Kantzari, with both boxers making a fast and aggressive start to the bout.

The Greek was strong and awkward and the Scunthorpe boxer kept her at bay until the second round when a count interrupted her flow and a second stopped the bout.

After two previous wins, Briggs (below) was unable to make it a hat-trick against Russian Nadezhda Golubeva.

A good exchange of shots in the first two rounds was followed by a stellar display and strong final round from the Hunslet representative.

However, the Russian had edged ahead on the scorecards and took a unanimous win.

Headland’s Cox (below) also took on a Russian in the shape of Anastasiia Kirienko, where a close contest saw both boxers showing their slick skills.

A strong finish from the England boxer wasn’t enough to sway the judges, who gave the decision to the Russian on a 4-1 split.

Rounding off England’s medal tally so far is bronzes for Lee and Danielle Marshall, who bowed out in Saturday’s semi-finals.

Having beaten one Russian in her semi-final, Emily Asquith will bid to add a fifth gold medal to the England tally by facing another, Ekaterina Yachmeneva, as the finals continue tomorrow (Monday).