A teenage prospect who trains in sneakers and fights in soccer boots and a trailblazing female fighting veteran gave Australia the perfect start to a stacked boxing semi-final session as Callum Peters and Kaye Scott booked their place in Sunday’s gold medal bouts.
Australia had five fighters in action at the NEC in Birmingham, with Scott and Peters headlining the morning action. Both will fight for the top spot on the podium, with Scott winning a split decision over Mozambique’s Alcinda Helena Panguane at light middleweight and Peters, a middleweight, easing past South Africa’s Simnikiwe Bongo.
Scott worked well off her jab and landed the most quality shots as her opponent drove forward with flurries time and again. There was little in it but Scott, now 38 and a welterweight bronze medalist from 2018, kept her cool as the referee raised her hand.
She has been a mainstay of women’s boxing in Australia and advocated for the sport as it sought equal footing in leading amateur tournaments. Scott said she used to knock on doors to sell chocolates to fund her travel and a gold medal would be her crowning achievement.
“I can’t even put it in words. It just means so, so much to me and my family and everyone else who has supported us along the way,” she said.
“It’s been a tough journey. I remember right back to the beginning, even though I was No.1 in Australia I was selling Cadbury fundraisers door-to-door just to go to the World Championships,” Scott said.
“It wasn’t funded at all, there was no money from the government. I’d tried to raise three or four thousand dollars. I’ve had some really fantastic support, it’s just generosity. They don’t get much back from it in amateur boxing.”
Peters is at his first international tournament and looks like an outstanding young fighter. Already, he has leading promoters in Australia vying for his signature, but he has plenty of business left to finish in Birmingham and onto Paris in 2024.