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Delicious Orie, the man billed as the next Anthony Joshua, warned you will see him in the Commonwealth Games final after taking the roof off the NEC to guarantee at least a bronze medal.
Super heavyweight Orie will face New Zealand’s Leuila Mau’u in Saturday’s semi-final after a unanimous points victory over Trinidad and Tobago’s world bronze medallist Nigel Paul on Thursday night.
Orie, 25, was born outside Moscow to a Nigerian father and Russian mother but racism led the family to move to Birmingham when he was just seven and spoke no English.
At 6ft 6ins, basketball was his first sporting calling until he took up boxing at 18 having been inspired by Joshua, also a latecomer to the ring, winning his first world title before going on to spar his idol.
After ending a week-long wait to compete in front of a packed capacity crowd of 4,500, Orie said: “AJ is a great inspiration and I’ve told him that in person. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t be here.
“He made me believe it’s possible and I want to carry on that message and pass it on to any children in the crowd or watching at home. It’s possible to achieve these things if you set your mind to it.”
New Zealand’s Mau’u knocked out St Lucia’s Leran Regis in sickening style in the evening’s penultimate fight but Orie, who swung from the hip amid deafening noise late on to try and finish his opponent, is not concerned as he looks to upgrade the bronze he won at this year’s European Championships.
He added: “I’m eyeing up that gold medal, I want to take it one step at a time.
“Every opponent is dangerous, especially in the super-heavyweight game. All it takes is one punch and I’m aware of that.
“I take every fight one step at a time. But you will see me there in the final, I believe that.”
Orie’s family home is just a 20-minute drive from the scene of his latest victory and Birmingham’s new favourite son was impressed by the reception he received.
“I couldn’t believe the atmosphere,” he explained.
“I’ve been here for the past week watching the other guys, but I could never have expected this kind of crowd today. I want to thank everyone for being there for me and shouting out my name.
“I’m not going to sleep tonight; I’ll be shadow boxing in my hotel room. I can’t wait to go back out there in a couple of days.”
Orie is aiming to become the third successive English fighter to take the Commonwealth title in his weight category after Joe Joyce and Frazer Clarke, with the latter now mentoring him on his journey.
Orie, who has a first-class degree in Economics and Business Management from Aston University, said: “I couldn’t be in a better place, sparring with the likes of Frazer Clarke and Anthony Joshua. I knew I was in the best hands in the world.”
With family on both sides of the Ukraine conflict, Orie has said that his mother speaks to relatives with the main message being that nobody called for the war.
An incredible back story plus prodigious talent is ordinarily a sure-fire recipe for a pressure cooker, but the man named Delicious appears to have the appetite for the big stage.
“I wouldn’t call myself an athlete if I didn’t have that pressure on my shoulders,” he explained.
“I’ve accepted it, I’ve embraced it, and I know this is what I’ll be living with for the rest of my boxing career. But I cannot wait, I’m all up for it.”
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