Former roller blader Jake Dodd is now getting his skates on in and out of the ring after booking his spot in the Commonwealth Games quarter-finals.
Wrexham flyweight Dodd dispatched Lesotho’s Retselisitsoe Kolobe in a hurry with a second-round stoppage in his first Birmingham bout before revealing he is also pressed for time in his personal life.
Plumber Dodd, 27, who is one of over 1,100 elite athletes on UK Sport’s National Lottery-funded World Class Programme, allowing them to train full time, have access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support, only started boxing seven years ago after first walking into a gym because all his friends had stopped going to the skatepark.
And after hopefully bagging gold for Wales here, Dodd plans to dash home to finish a bathroom in time to go on holiday with his girlfriend, presumably to avoid her saying ‘See you later’ to the ex-skater boy.
Dodd, who fights Northern Irish youngster Clepson Paiva on Thursday, said: “Nothing comes easy at this stage so to stop him in the second round is great for my confidence.
“I thought the referee stopped it at the right time as he was hurt and I was taking control.
“Gold has got to be my ambition. I know I have the skills so it is all about going there and proving it at the highest level.
“Lots of fighters talk a good game, but it is how you back it up that counts.
“I’ve got a 10-day bathroom to do the day after the Games finish. I leave here and go back to work on August 9 and go away with my girlfriend on holiday to Rhodes on August 19 so I am on a strict schedule.
“I’d better get it done as I need a holiday and so does the girlfriend.”
And in Monday night’s final bout, a promising lightweight Taylor Bevan continued on his collision course for the podium with a second successive stoppage.
The 21-year-old said he was in a “great shape” after making light work of Samoa’s Jancen Poutoa to book his spot in the quarter-finals.
Bevan, who qualifies for Wales through his mother and splits his time between Hampshire and Cardiff, was well supported by the NEC crowd and admitted he had to steady his nerves before setting up what will surely be a sterner test against Jamaica’s Jerone Ennis on Thursday.
He said: “I couldn’t have asked for more than two stoppages in two fights. I’m in great shape. Neither of my fights have been fatiguing.
“I was a bit nervous but not as much as in my first fight. I felt pretty relaxed once the fight started. That comes with experience.
“I am here for the gold medal. It’s a tough Jamaican next. That will be a difficult opponent, no doubt about it.”
Elsewhere in weightlifting, Christie Williams was proud to pull a rabbit out of the hat to claim her second straight Commonwealth Games seventh place.
In her third Games, Williams was staring down the barrel after failing with her first two clean and jerk attempts in the women’s 64kg competition.
However, Williams – who was born in Merthyr Tydfil – finally came to the party with a 100kg lift with her final shot that took her to a more than respectable total of 183kg.
The 29-year-old said: “To be in seventh and have only made one clean and jerk, I think is pretty special.
“To have made the last one after missing two is an incredible achievement, I’m incredibly proud of myself for doing that. Onwards and up.”
Williams’ veteran teammate Faye Pittman, 39, bettered her result from the Gold Coast four years ago by one after taking ninth place in the women’s 71kg.
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