Richie Hadlow found the performance of his life on Saturday to all but certainly secure his place in the Commonwealth Games next year.
The Queenstown boxer touched gloves with no.2-ranked Australian Furkan Demirkaya in the qualifying bout. Coach Stewart Mitchell says it was a cracker.
“Richie put in one of his best performances to date when it mattered the most whilst under immense pressure to perform.
“Win and you have all but secured your place at the Commonwealth Games, lose and then it becomes subjective and down to selectors’ opinions.”
The four-time light welterweight national champion dropped the Aussie with a body shot in the first round.
Demirkaya came back in the second round, trying to regain control, and was more aggressive and assertive.
Mitchell: “We knew this kid had a tricky hands-down style with great balance and movement so Richie had to really slowly turn the screw, making him move and burn a lot of energy … keeping his punches sharp.
“Richie boxed superbly and banged at the right time, securing a fantastic win and now opening the door to some fantastic opportunities.”
Hadlow is stoked with his strong performance.
“I knew he would be a slick boxer and the game plan was to stay on him but be aware and use boxing skill to get in and out of range. I achieved that really well.”
However, he’s still waiting for the rubber stamp on his place in the national squad.
In the meantime he’s heading to a training camp in the United States.