Le Poullain’s medal hopes are dashed

IT WAS not to be for Billy Le Poullain in his Commonwealth Games quarter-final yesterday – with a medal just one win away.

England's Lewis Richardson (left) lands a left on the chin of Billy Le Poullain during their middleweight quarter-final at the NEC. (Picture by PA, 31109879)
England's Lewis Richardson (left) lands a left on the chin of Billy Le Poullain during their middleweight quarter-final at the NEC. (Picture by PA, 31109879)

The Birmingham-born bailiwick star put up a valiant effort, but England southpaw Lewis Richardson proved too sharp to overcome in their middleweight bout at the National Exhibition Centre.

The European silver-medallist’s superior reach allowed him to fight consistently from the outside and ultimately win the unanimous decision.

But a resolute Le Poullain roused the crowd when, with 25sec. left in round two, he landed a cracking left hook and sparked an intense close-quarters brawl.

It is testament to Richardson’s class that he came out the better and gave Le Poullain a standing eight count.

Ultimately, Le Poullain gamely continued and was gracious in defeat after seeing out three tough rounds.

‘I’m gutted, you know?’ he said.

‘I thought in the build-up to this, the momentum I’ve had this season, I’d be able to go in there and just perform like I performed Sunday [in beating Northern Ireland’s Jake Tucker 3-2]. But today wasn’t my day.

‘Testament to Lewis – he’s a phenomenal talent and he deserves all the success.

‘I just hope, for my sake now, he goes on to win it with ease, so it makes my loss not look too shabby.’

Richardson’s progression to the semi-finals has guaranteed him at least a bronze medal.

The bailiwick boxing legend, meanwhile, is not entirely sure what his next step is.

‘We’ll see where we go from here – it’s been a long 12 months and my body needs a break,’ he said.

‘I’ve done well, and I guess I’ll appreciate more what I’ve achieved this season once I’ve had a break and I can look back at it and reassess what’s next.’

But, as he bows out from Birmingham, Le Poullain did not go without a heartfelt address to his fans.

He testified to the ‘truly overwhelming’ support from all quarters, including a deluge of messages that he has been unable to respond to in full.

‘It means a lot to me and I guess it triggers me a bit because I do struggle a bit with my own mental health, and to know so many people wish me well, it’s really humbling and I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve got – here, on social media, and people that stop me when I’m out and about.’

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