By Mikayla van Loon
Australia’s Olympic boxing gold is one step closer to being a reality after Mooroolbark’s Harry Garside dominated the ring in his round of 16.
Facing the world number two, Namibia’s Jonas Jonas, Garside was nimble on his feet and was able to avoid punches well, bringing in all his ballet training to do so.
The first round was slow to start, both boxers working each other out but Garside was able to impress the judges enough to win the bout.
Jonas came back fighting in the second round but more accuracy from the Aussie saw him be the better of the two, getting the win 3-2 from the judges.
Both Garside and Jonas stumbled in the third and a number of warnings were handed to the Namibian for punching the back of the head.
With some well delivered blows, fancy footwork and good body movement to avoid the African champion’s punches, Garside came out of the third round happy and pumped up.
With cheers from his teammates, Garside took out the men’s lightweight round of 16 with unanimous votes from the judges to gain him a spot in the quarter-finals.
Garside was controlled and in command of the ring, with Jonas trying to connect but unable to do it enough.
In an interview after the bout with Channel 7, Garside said he knew Jonas was going to be a challenging opponent but he listened to his coaches and worked to his game plan.
“The opponent, he was class. I knew he was going to be a big challenge,” Garside said.
“He won the commonwealth games in the weight above me, so I really wanted to fight him and see how I stack up against him and he showed up to fight.”
Garside said having his fellow teammates there, cheering him on was driving him throughout his bout with Jonas.
“It’s a blessing in disguise not having a crowd here because I could hear everything they were saying and I wish they were still in comp with me, a few of them deserve to be here but had a tough decision but I’m flying the flag for Australia and I really want that gold medal.”
Although a polished performance from the Mooroolbark local, Garside will now need to take on Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin on Tuesday 3 August, with a win guaranteeing him an Olympic medal.