Alex Winwood was knocked out of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham overnight after an “untimely” stoppage of his flyweight fight against Zambian Patrick Chinyemba.
The 25-year-old from Noongar, who had comfortably won the first round with the approval of four of the five judges, seemed to hit his stride in the second when Chinyemba rocked him with a powerful one-two.
After emerging from the canvas, Winwood only received two counts from the ring official before the fight was called.
Visibly shocked by the call from the official, Winwood nevertheless immediately went to Chinyemba and his team to congratulate them.
The two had previously shared the ring at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Chinyemba beat Winwood four rounds to one.
Winwood gave a moving message to his country post fight, thanking his supporters “from the bottom of my heart.”
“I really wanted to take a chance and prove myself. I know what I’m made of – I wanted to show Australia and the world what Australians are made of.
“As an Indigenous Australian, I love you all, down to Australians!” he told Channel 7.
Even his opponent looked set to continue the game, returning to the Zambian corner after landing the knocks.
2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist and Winwood teammate Harry Garside called the official’s decision “premature”.
“You have to wait for the opponent to get up, then you have to give them eight seconds, and you have to look them in the eye and see where their legs are,” he told Channel 7 after the fight.
Commentator Jon Harker agreed, calling the call “outrageous” and “bizarre” during coverage.
“I find it unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable,” Harker reacted.
Not the end of the road
As an ambassador for the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) ‘Share a Yarn’ program – which provides Australian athletes with meaningful opportunities to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – the 25-year-old years has a bright future ahead of her.
Winwood is early in his fighting career – as an amateur he has a 13-10 record and has traveled the world competing and representing his country and his crowd.
After strongly supporting Winwood and defending him against the controversial appeal, lightweight professional boxer Harry Garside was optimistic about the next move.
“Alex has a huge future ahead of him.”