Carly MacNeul insists she is in Birmingham to mine the gold and make her son Jayden proud of her.

Carly McNeul’s son Jayden is arriving in Birmingham today. She can’t wait to see him and hug him tightly.

The 33-year-old’s eyes lit up as she talked about her boy in the interview zone at the NEC as she guaranteed herself a medal at the Commonwealth Games for the second time.

McNaul just defeated Sri Lanka’s Keshani Hansika in the Light Flyweight quarter-finals. It was an impressive performance, much better than the “terrible” attempt, according to Carly herself, when she won a split decision against Australian Kirsty Harris in the previous round.

Four years after winning Commonwealth silver on the Gold Coast, McNall is confident of bronze in 2022, but with a semi-final on Saturday and a potential decider on Sunday, the determined and pretty lady from east Belfast is hungry for more.

Gold is McNall’s goal, overcoming a broken femur, torn arm tendons, eye surgery and Covid-19 in recent years to reach this point.

Having achieved success in the ring, she has serious perseverance. So what keeps her afloat?

“My love for boxing, my love for my son,” she said.

“I will never give up on this, I have a dream and I will continue until I can no longer. Coaches say I have great endurance, I just love boxing, I love fighting.”

Beaming as she talked about 12-year-old Jayden, McNall added: “He’s coming here tomorrow (Thursday) to support me, I can’t wait to see him. I love you to death, son.”

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Antrim teen Nicole Clyde defeated by Nitu Gangas

Reflecting on his 5-0 victory on the judges’ scorecards, a pleased McNaul said: “I’m over the moon to put on a better performance than the last one. The first fight was very sketchy and at a very high pace, I told everyone that I was terrible, that I would go out and give a better performance in the next fight, which I did.

“The next one will be better again. The tactic I was given worked really well for me. There I was able to relax.

“I was disappointed with my last gig because I couldn’t do anything I was working on. It was like the old me. I couldn’t show anything after I said I had a lot to give, so this time I was happy. I showed what I can do and not just be bold, go ahead and fight with my heart. I have skills too.

“It’s great to win, but I’m here for the gold. You all know this. As my performances continue, I will get better and better.”

McNall says the mood at Team NI, led by esteemed Ulster High Performance Director John Conlan, is great, adding that all members enjoy the support they receive from their family and friends in the stands and from the locals in Birmingham. .

The Ormeau Road boxing club fighter said: “You just feel like these people know you. You go out and everyone gives you A’s, it’s just a completely different vibe (compared to the Gold Coast). It also feels like it’s so much bigger, it’s great to feel that vibe and be a part of it all.”

Following McNall in the semi-finals is Uganda’s Teddy Nakimuli, who advanced to the quarter-finals and advanced to the quarter-finals after Sierra Leone’s Sarah Hagihat-Joo failed to make weight.

Shortly before McNall’s victory in the afternoon session, there was a disappointment for teammate Nicole Clyde, who lost to Indian Nita Gangas in the strawweight division.

The 19-year-old from Antrim was unfortunate enough to be paired with the likely gold medal winner in the quarter-final draw, and while Clyde was in the game trying not to back down, the teen was attacked again and again by the 21-year-old who left her corner without having no choice but to withdraw her from the competition at the end of the second round.

Clyde was understandably emotional after the fight, but he will learn from the experience and hopefully come back.