PAT McCORMACK admits he is struggling to come up with an explanation for the below-par display that saw him crash out of the Commonwealth Games boxing tournament at the very first hurdle this afternoon.
The Birtley lightweight travelled to Glasgow as a strong favourite to claim the gold medal after lifting the senior ABA title earlier this year, but lost out to Welshman Joseph Cordina on a split decision.
The verdict could probably have gone either way, with McCormack recovering from a slow start to dominate the second round, before falling away again in the final three minutes of the contest.
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However, it was impossible to deny that McCormack’s performance was a level or two below what he is capable of, and he will return to the North-East to take stock before returning to the British high-performance camp later in the year.
“I don’t really know what happened so I’ll have to watch it back,” said the 19-year-old. “I didn’t feel all that good out there for some reason. I thought I might have nicked it, but it wasn’t to be.
“It wasn’t the occasion getting to me or anything like that – I’ve been waiting for two days to get going and I’ve had to keep my weight down, and my legs just didn’t feel right for some reason.
“I’m not going to make excuses or anything though because he beat me fair and square. It’s something I’ll have to learn from.”
McCormack’s defeat could have serious repercussions in terms of the domestic pecking order in the build up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Today's contest always looked like being a gold-medal decider in everything but name, and while Cordina could be tested by Canada’s David Gauthier in his next bout tomorrow, the Welsh youngster looks to have a relatively clear path to the final.
A Commonwealth gold medal would transform his status in the British set-up, and make it all the more difficult for McCormack to reclaim top billing, with the next 12 months likely to play a major role in determining who is selected to represent Team GB in Brazil.
“That was basically a gold-medal bout for me,” said Cordina. “With us being in the GB set-up together, that was always going to decide who is number one and who is number two.
“I always knew it was going to be quite a big fight for me, but I definitely think I deserved to come out on top.
“I thought I won the first round quite comfortably, the second round was a lot closer and he maybe took it, but then I thought my cleaner shots in the last round won the bout.”