Owain Harris-Allan impresses in Commonwealth bow

·4 min read
Owain Harris-Allan impresses in Commonwealth bow

Remember the name or remember the pink socks.

That was the message from Welsh boxer Owain Harris-Allan after the exciting 18-year-old bantamweight came through his Round of 16 bout against Lesotho's Phomolo Daniel Lengola.

Harris-Allan was making his Commonwealth Games bow at the NEC, progressing to the quarterfinals with a slit decision victory after four of the five judges awarded him the fight.

But it was not just his boxing skills that left an impression on those watching the Cardiff-born rising star, with his bright pink florescent socks also making him standout from the crowd.

And Harris-Allan admitted that was exactly the point, saying: “People see me on the TV, and they say, ‘look at that boy in the pink socks, do you remember that boy in the pink socks?’

“It’s just something to remember me by. I might be small, I might be 18 but they will never forget the pink socks, just in case they forget my name.”

Reflecting on his performance, he added: “I took a well clear first round, but I did slowdown in the second round and just tried to pick my shots and not push forward too much.

“I was getting caught with some shots, but we adapted to that, my corner kept saying keep going, keep going, keep doing what you’re doing, and I kept doing what I was doing.

“I picked it up in the third and I didn’t tire at all, if it looked like I tired. I was just trying to figure him out as he was a difficult opposition, and he was a bit longer than me.

“He had long arms, he was just tapping his jab out and I was just trying to get out of the way to get past that jab and I did most of the time. Second round I was just trying to figure him out.”

This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.

Harris-Allan began boxing when he was just seven and only joined the full-time programme at Sport Wales five months ago after impressing on the development programme.

He almost missed out on the Commonwealth Games but a semi-final victory over a Ukrainian in the Czech Republic International Tournament provided him with a second chance.

“It’s great to be here at the Commonwealth Games,” he continued.

“It’s unbelievable as I wasn’t meant to be here, I pulled through and beat a Ukrainian in the semi-finals of a tournament in the Czech Republic and I beat him to get my place.

“Before that I went to Serbia and boxed against the number three amateur in the world and lost on a split decision and that was for the Games, so I thought my chances were over.

“I thought I was not going but they gave me another chance and I proved why I should be here. I didn’t feel any nerves, I’m here where I am meant to be right now.

“I’m meant to be on this big stage, I’m only 18 years of age and I've got power, I’ve got speed, I’ve got head movement, I’ve got everything, and I deserve to be on this big stage.

“You must go in with your all, you must do your best - that’s all you can do. Here I am, I’ve just won my first bout and now I’m on to my next and fight again Thursday.

“I’m only here for one colour and that’s gold.”

Elsewhere in the evening boxing session, Zoe Andrews lost her women's featherweight last 16 bouts against England’s Sameenah Toussaint in a 4-1 split decision.

“I knew it was going to be tough coming here with 54kg going up against 57kg,” said the 18-year-old Welsh fighter. “I knew it was going to be even tougher boxing an English girl in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

“Her reach impacted me massively. I’m usually the tallest in my weight but she was rangy and very good. She’s a good boxer and I think she may well go a long way here.”

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