Exclusive: Defeat may impact my aim to fight at the Commonwealth Games, says Stephen Newns Jr

The amateur boxer tells Planet Sport about his experience inside the ring as he was robbed of a chance to win gold by a Lithuanian referee.

Stephen Newns Jr has told Planet Sport that he left the ring on Friday night feeling 'disheartened' after being denied a gold medal by referee Mindaugas Zilinskas.

Fighting for gold at the International Elite Boxing Algirdas Socikas Tournament, Newns Jr got pulled out of the contest by the Lithuanian official in the second round of their amateur bout despite a punch not being landed on him.

The Scottish light middleweight is seen being put in a headlock and thrown to the floor by his opponent Kutuk Baris before a clinch between the pair sees them pulled apart.

The referee gives Newns Jr an eight-count but then decides to wave off the fight and award his German opponent - who was not deducted a point for wrestling Newns to the canvas - as the winner.

The 24-year-old believes the decision was due to the incompetence of the referee rather than corruption, and despite his footage of the fight going viral on social media going viral, it doesn't soften the blow for Newns Jr.

The Scot is bidding to fight at the Commonwealth Games in the summer and the defeat is a blow, due to the points system required for him to qualify for the event.

Looking back Newns Jr - who is also studying sports exercise and science at university - said he just wished the fight could have gone for the distance so it was in the judges' hands to determine the winner.

"Although a few days have gone, I'm still a bit shocked. Usually, if I have been beaten in the past it's been like, 'I'm upset but it's part of the game' but to lose like that I was just shocked, how can it happen? I didn't know how to feel," he told Planet Sport. "I've never witnessed it to happen to anyone else and for me to be the victim of it is obviously rotten."

Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr
Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr
Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr
Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr
Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr
Photo credit: Stephen Newns Jr

Looking back on the fight itself, Newns Jr added: "The fight starts quite quickly in the round and I felt like I had got my momentum back again and I landed some good shots.

"I picked up on the tactics of how to actually beat this guy for the next two rounds but then it's a bit clumsy. The guy gets close to me, pushes me down - it might have been an accident, I'm not sure - but anyway, he does so, he wipes my gloves and doesn't give the other boxer a warning.

"I crack on and then we come into another clash - a kind of grab and hold without any clean blows landing. And then the referee starts an eight-count. I hold my hands up and think 'what's that all about?'

"I go to the neutral corner and try to be sportsmen-like as much as possible and then I'm good to go, throw my hands a little bit and then the referee just waves the contest off. I have no idea what the referee was thinking. I'm sure I said 'what's that for?'

"Anyone in boxing, referees, judges, coaches, I respect them all. Especially in the amateur game, volunteers like myself, are unpaid volunteers for a sport we all love and enjoy. For that to happen it just gives the sport a bad name and people have to suffer for it."

Newns Jr - who coincides boxing with university and is in his fourth year studying sports and exercise science - is unsure of his future in the sport following the controversial loss.

"It's just happened, I need to give it a few days to settle. I do have my heart set on returning to the Commonwealth Games because I was in the last one in 2018 and just missed out on a medal and went out in the quarter-finals.

"I've been so determined to keep my place in the Scotland team, live the life, focus on boxing and go back to the Commonwealth Games. And then go back and hopefully I perform well, believe in myself and win a medal if not win the gold.

"I want to make it clear that blows like this won't impact my boxing - I love boxing," he added.

Read more: Josh Warrington can see Leeds fans downing tequila and throwing nachos at each other in Mexico

Latest news