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Silver lining to Mather’s battle

25 August 2010

West Australian Brett Mather has clinched the silver medal in the light weight 60kg division at the Youth Olympic Games having gone down to Lithuanian Evaldas Petrauskas.

Mather easily had the height and reach over Petrauskas but could not match the stocky Lithuanian’s composure and skill-set, going down 10-4.

It was the second time the pair had squared off – the first pushed Mather out of the gold medal bout at the world championships. And much like at the world championships, Petrauskas kept every inch of the fight under control, boxing tight and giving Mather very little space to work with.

The Lithuanian nugget advanced the entire bout making Mather fight hard for every point he scored. Mather said he was happy with the fight, thrilled with the silver and wiser from his time in Singapore.

“I’m very happy to be taking home silver, he is an excellent fighter and that was an incredible experience,” Mather said.

“He was just so tight and it was really hard to break him down, he’s got a lot of experience and being able to go up against fighters like him only improves how I box.

“It’s been such a great experience being with athletes from right across the planet, we’ve learned so much about different cultures and how things get done at the top end of sport – we have all had the best time.”

From the opening minute Petrauskas grabbed an early advantage taking a point from a series of body blows with a sneaky right to the bottom of Mather’s ribs doing the trick.

Playing a defensive game and waiting for the slightest of openings, Mather scored midway through the first round but the scores were level for only a moment when a quick flurry by Petrauskas put him up 2-1 going into the first break.

The second round started much the same as the first had left off with Petrauskas going hard on the attack forcing Mather onto the ropes. But quality defending stopped Petrauskas from scoring again until a minute and a half from the second bell to take the score to 3-1.

Unfortunately for Mather, Petrauskas waited until late in the second to turn on his magic, putting together some quality boxing to score four points with shots to the head and body. The assault forced the referee to apply an eight count to Mather.

Mather went to the break needing a six-point turnaround to have a chance at gold, and had the Australian supporters on their feet scoring two-quick points with straight rights to the head.

But Petrauskas again fought back with a quick-three-punch combo pushing the margin back to six with just 30 seconds to go.

Mather scored again but it was too late for a comeback with the Lithuanian winning 10-4 to claim gold.

Elliot Woods

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