A walkover has secured Harry Garside’s place in the ring at the Paris Olympics, where he’ll attempt to win Australia’s first boxing Games gold.
Harry Garside won bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic GamesGarside has a 3-0 professional recordGarside had assault charges against him dropped earlier this year
The Tokyo bronze medallist was set to fight for the quota spot in Saturday’s Pacific Games 63.5kg gold medal bout in the Solomon Islands.
But his Fijian opponent Elia Rokobuli withdrew on the morning of the fight, gifting the 26-year-old Garside an untroubled passage.
Garside captured the country’s attention with a charismatic run to bronze in Tokyo.
He lost to Cuban standout Andy Cruz in the semifinal but still secured Australia’s first Olympic medal in the sport for 33 years.
Garside turned professional soon after and was 3-0 before opting to return to the amateur ranks and chase a historic gold.
“I have reached the base camp. Now the most important part of the journey,” Garside wrote on social media on Saturday morning.
“Going to do everything in my power to change that colour from bronze to gold and become the first ever Australian Olympic gold medallist for boxing.”
Garside has endured a tough year out of the ring after being arrested and charged with one count of domestic violence-related common assault over an alleged incident on March 1 at Bellevue Hill, in Sydney’s east.
That charge was dropped, only for his former girlfriend Ashley Ruscoe to then be charged with common assault (DV) and stalking and intimidating with the intention to cause fear or physical harm (DV).
Garside told SEN that the “super challenging” year was good for him.
“I’m very grateful that all I went through this year, I’m very grateful that I got through it very quickly and I’m very grateful that I’ve realised who’s in my team, who’s stood by me,” he said.
“My circle got smaller but I’m very grateful for that, too.”
Ruscoe has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Only five Australians boxed at the Tokyo Games but already there are seven fighters with their tickets all but punched.
Tiana Echegaray (54kg), Tyla McDonald (60kg), Callum Peters (80kg), Charlie Senior (57kg), Caitlin Parker (75kg) and Marissa Williamson Pohlman (66kg) all won gold in Honiara on Friday.
Five others — Tina Rahimi, Yusuf Chothia, Shannan Davey, Monique Suraci and Teremoana Teremoana — will seek to join them later on Saturday by winning gold of their own.
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