Motherwell trio set sights on being kings of the ring

Motherwell boxers Reece McFadden (left) and Aqeel Ahmed in training for Glasgow 2014.
Motherwell boxers Reece McFadden (left) and Aqeel Ahmed in training for Glasgow 2014.

Motherwell boxer Reece McFadden hopes being at home will stop Scottish fighters being on the end of any controversial decisions.

The flyweight has his sights set firmly on gold and having witnessed favouritism in Australia recently does not want the Commonwealth Games blighted by bad officiating.

McFadden said: “The preparations have been amazing, it’s just been non-stop training, but that is what you need to win the gold medal and that is where my focus
lies.

“What we don’t want is for a bad decision to deny anyone - in some places you go to the home fighters get a definite advantage.

“We were in Australia and there was one ‘robbery’, but we still won 7-2 - it happens all the time.”

McFadden, who has received backing from community organisation Forgewood Holdings, admits he is delighted to now be in the athletes’ village so he can concentrate on the task at hand.

He said: “The people in Forgewood have been lovely and they all want to talk to you and even hug you in the street.

“But it can get a little overwhelming so I am glad to just focus on the Games and I’ll see everyone when it is over.

“Winning all comes down to who wants it more. Whoever you’re drawn against you have to go for it - there is no point holding back on this stage.

“There will be some nerves, but if you are worried about losing then you probably will.

“I have loads of friends and family coming to see me and I’m buzzing about appearing in front of them and a home crowd.”

Fellow Motherwell boxer Aqeel Ahmed says success at the Games would be an ideal birthday present.

The light-flyweight celebrates on the 28th, the day of his weight category’s second round fights, and having had the chance to see his opposition up close believes he can do well.

Ahmed said: “I’m shaping up brilliantly. All the hard work is done now so it’s just a case of waiting for the draw.

“I was over in Ireland sparring with many of the guys I could face. I thought I did quite well and it gave me a good chance to study them.

“I have analysed all the favourites in the tournament and I am ready to execute my game plan.

“I am maybe not seen as one of the favourites, but inside I feel I am and I’m aiming for the gold.

“Some of my family who have never seen me fight are coming so there is a bit of pressure, but once the bell rings you forget who is watching.

“If I win it will be the best day ever and it’s the only birthday present I want.”

Ross Henderson is the third Motherwell boxer in the squad, but while Ahmed takes an analytical approach the super-heavyweight says he will just deal with whoever is put in front of him.

Appearing at his second Commonwealth Games, the former blacksmith is ready to use that experience to hammer his way into medal contention.

Henderson said: “Some boys like to watch footage of who they may be up against, but it doesn’t bother me what my opponent has done in the past.

“The coaches will tell me anything I need to know and I’ll be ready for whoever the draw pairs me with.

“I’ve fought in countries all over the world, but I can’t wait to be in front of 8,000 Scots cheering us on at the SECC.

“I don’t feel any pressure. If anything, having the home support will make me work harder.

“I have the experience from Delhi so I know what to expect in the lead up to each fight as well as what it is like to be in front of a massive crowd.

“The whole of Scotland is behind us. I am being stopped in the street all the time by wellwishers and getting texts constantly wishing me all the best.

“Everyone has sacrificed so much to be a part of the Games and now it is time to reward that backing by winning a medal, I know there is one to be won and I will leave everything in the ring.”