There was joy at six as Britain’s boxers equalled their biggest medal haul for 101 years but for Pat McCormack, the numbers did not add up.
Thanks to Galal Yafai’s bronze-guaranteeing flyweight quarter-final victory over Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia, Rob McCracken’s charges will take at least half a dozen Olympic medals home in their best performance since 1920.
McCormack, however, could not repeat Yafai’s trick against Veitia’s 32-year-old compatriot Roniel Iglesias, with the veteran outclassing and outpointing the boy from Washington, Tyne and Wear, in a one-sided welterweight final.
Team GB’s Pat McCormack (L) had to settle for silver as he lost the men’s welterweight final
Roniel Iglesias won his second Olympic gold medal after previous success at London 2012
It was not even close. From the off, McCormack’s opponent, who took gold in London, was on the front foot and stayed there throughout.
In the end, all five judges rightly ruled in the southpaw’s favour. Three of them ruled he had won every round. They were correct.
It could have been worse. In the second, McCormack was dropped by a huge shot to the jaw, which the referee — for reasons only known to him — ruled a slip.
The impression was always that McCormack, 26, whose twin brother Luke lost his lightweight quarter-final earlier in the week, had his eyes on the next challenge and he confirmed as much in the aftermath.
‘Me and my brother are both turning professional,’ he said. ‘I’m ready for the pro ranks now. It’s been a long time coming with the lockdown and everything got pushed back a year.
All five judges preferred the slicker work of the impressive Cuban Iglesias in Tuesday’s final
‘I was hoping to be professional now but I’m an Olympic silver medallist, it’s a good platform to turn professional. I’m just ready for the pros.’
McCormack’s path to the final appeared to be helped by farce. His semi-final opponent, Ireland’s Aidan Walsh, landed awkwardly while celebrating his quarter-final victory and put himself out of the rest of the competition.
Walsh, leg in boot, sheepishly took his place on the podium before making his excuses ahead of the press conference. But McCormack claimed the daft withdrawal was more of a hindrance than a help.
‘I could have done with boxing,’ he said. ‘I haven’t done anything for four days, apart from a little bit of shadow boxing and a little bit of pads. I could have done with a fight to get my eye in, but it is what it is, he’s injured.
‘I’ve got a silver medal and I’m going to go home happy.’
Happy too, that he is part of the history makers.
‘I’m proud to be part of the team,’ he added. ‘We’ve broken all the records from the last squad and got the most medals here, so we’ll go down in history as one of the best GB teams ever.’
McCormack was lucky not to have been adjudged to have been knocked down in round two
In the same ring, Birmingham’s Yafai earlier ensured it would be a memorable day for Team GB with a comprehensive victory, picking up the votes of four judges to one.
‘It feels nice to get a medal, the sixth one for GB,’ he said. ‘I’m rooming with Frazer Clarke who is in the semi-final and Ben Whittaker who’s in the final — I didn’t want to go home with nothing, I had to make sure I got a medal.’
The 28-year-old amateur, son of Yemeni parents, will take at least a bronze as a losing semi-finalist. But he is not entertaining that prospect.
‘I’ll be looking to get another win and get into the final,’ he said of his semi-final tomorrow with Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossinov.
The youngest of three boxing brothers, Yafai added he had been overwhelmed with the backing he had received.
‘They’ll be over the moon now,’ he said of his siblings. ‘They’ve been texting all day.
‘I’ve had great support from family and friends, but also from the people of Great Britain.’