Edinburgh boxer Lewis Benson has been told he must fight again to earn his place at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
The 22-year-old Lochend fighter secured his third consecutive Scottish title two weeks ago at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena when he powered past arch-rival Connor Law by a unanimous decision in their 69kg bout – a victory Benson believed would all but seal his place.
But the pair have been ordered to box again on April 26 behind closed doors by Boxing Scotland to determine who takes the coveted spot for Team Scotland in July.
Terry McCormack, Benson’s coach at Lochend, has been left utterly bemused by the governing body’s stance after their promotional campaign for the finals was moulded on Games selection.
McCormack said: “We were led to believe these finals would determine the selection slots for the Commonwealth Games so why are we being told a couple of weeks later there has to be a box-off?
“I’ve asked Boxing Scotland to explain why this is this case and all they’ve said is they’re still not sure about the two boxers. Well, were they still not sure of them at the finals two weeks ago when Lewis beat Connor unanimously?
“I don’t understand it at all and it’s just shocking really.
“If Lewis wins again we might as well make it the best of ten.”
But Boxing Scotland chairman Richard Thomas explained that no boxer had ever been given an assurance that victory would confirm his place for Glasgow, stressing this had been outlined within a written selection policy. Thomas also reinforced the process of the selection points scoring system for each boxer and, after Benson had switched from 64kg to 69kg last year, always faced a deduction on his points card.
He said: “When a boxer moves weight category, you have to give him some sort of deduction of points won from tournaments, so we have deducted points from Lewis. And, as such, Connor Law has more points than him.
“You cannot judge it on one night of boxing. That’s not tournament boxing. So for me, it’s Lewis Benson we are giving the chance to here because if it was just done on points, we would have sent Connor Law.
“I have always said the finals would contribute towards Games selection but I never said to the boxers if you win, you’re going. I never once said that.
“For the box-off what we want are neutral officials, the boxers, coaches, no screaming crowds, no pressure from journalists and the two lads to focus on their boxing.”