999 operator Jodie Wilkinson survives scare in opening Commonwealth Games bout

Part-time 999 operator Jodie Wilkinson revealed she was not happy despite answering her own emergency call by coming from behind to box her way into the Commonwealth Games quarter-final.

Castleford’s Wilkinson, 27, was down on the judges’ scorecards after the first round against Nigeria’s Bolanle Temitope Shogbamu in Birmingham but battled back to nick the second before opening strongly in the third as her opponent faded to claim victory by split-decision.

Light-middleweight Wilkinson was frustrated to not show her best on the big stage but promised there was plenty more to come in front of the home faithful at Birmingham’s NEC as she got her medal charge underway at her first Games.

Wilkinson, who works part-time for the Yorkshire Ambulance service, said: “I’m not happy but I got the win so I should be happy in some sense. I only gave 30 or 40 percent of the real Jodie out there today.

Survived a scare: Rugby league player turned boxer Jodie Wilkinson during her first-round bout. (Picture: Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

“I always believe the hardest fight is the first fight in any competition, so I’ve got that out of the way and now I’m going for gold but there’s more of the real Jodie to witness in there.

“I can just relax for a few days and then go again on Wednesday and fight for a medal and give it my all.”

Shogbamu proved to be a tricky opponent with a good one-two and frustrated Wilkinson – who only started boxing after signing up for a charity bout – by continually trying to grapple.

Wilkinson knew she had to force things in the second round and after both fighters were deducted a point, the home favourite connected well enough to keep her hopes alive before her superior fitness paid dividends in the decisive final round.

Wilkinson said: “I didn’t know anything about this opponent, I’ve never seen her before – I literally only saw her as we were walking out to the ring. I was edgy about what she was going to bring. I don’t really know why we were getting deducted a point, I guess it’s what the referee was seeing. She was holding on a lot, I could feel her wearing down and breathing heavily on my shoulder, so I just kept trying to work inside.

“In the last round I could feel her getting tired, she tried to hold on and I was just trying to work and be the busiest boxer.”

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