Sport Boxer Harry Garside assured of Tokyo medal after split-decision win
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Boxer Harry Garside assured of Tokyo medal after split-decision win

Harry Garside connects with Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin in Tuesday night’s quarter final. Photo: Getty
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Harry Garside is guaranteed Australia’s first Olympic boxing medal in more than 30 years, and possibly the country’s maiden gold, after the lightweight beat Kazakhstan’s Zakir Safiullin in a tense split decision quarter-final at Tokyo.

The qualified plumber, 24, will add at least a Games bronze to his 2018 Commonwealth gold, given both semi-final losers in boxing are awarded third place.

Garside won 3-2 on Tuesday night, with each round split 3-2 between the five judges, a frenzied final round going his way to the shock of the plucky Kazakhstani, who is 10 years his senior.

Garside, who has turned to ballet into his training regimen to improve his footwork and balance, let out a bellowing ‘yes, c’mon’ when the decision went his way.

Australia hasn’t won an Olympic boxing medal since Grahame “Spike” Cheney’s light welterweight silver at Seoul 1988.

Featherweight Skye Nicolson, who was belting out a rendition of ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ from the stands during Garside’s final round on Tuesday, came desperately close when she lost a split decision in the Tokyo quarter-finals last week.

Australia’s last live boxing hope in Tokyo will face Cuba’s two-time world champion Andy Cruz on Friday, the winner to fight for gold on Sunday.

Cruz impressively won in the earlier bout 4-1 over Brazil’s Wanderson de Oliveira.

-AAP