Australia's ballet-loving boxer picks up bronze after crashing out of the semi-finals in Tokyo against Cuba's Andy Cruz in a tense bout in the ring

Australia's ballet-loving boxer picks up bronze after crashing out of the semi-finals in Tokyo against Cuba's Andy Cruz in a tense bout in the ring

Australian boxer Harry Garside
Australian boxer Harry Garside will take home a bronze medal after going down in the men's lightweight boxing semi-final at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 24-year-old reigning Commonwealth Games champion faced off with Cuba's two-time world title-holder Andy Cruz in the ring on Friday.

Garside refused to back down against Cruz but the Cuban proved to be too strong and won each of the three rounds.

The Melbourne boxer had added ballet to his training regime ahead of the Tokyo Games with the skill appearing to pay off after he defeated Kazakhstan's Zakir Safiullin in the quarter finals.

Garside was already guaranteed a medal as both semi-final losers are awarded bronze.

Harry Garside shared a close up of his fresh nails after Wednesday's quarter-final victory
Harry Garside shared a close up of his fresh nails after Wednesday's quarter-final victory.

Going into the match Cruz was the man to beat having won 110 fights from 118, while Garside has won 19 out of 34.

Speaking after the semi-final, Garside said he was just a 'normal kid' from Victoria and couldn't believe he'd made it to the Olympic podium.

'It is crazy I'm here, it hasn't really sunk in. I did this for Australia and I know Australia's proud of me that I got a bronze,' he told Channel 7.

'I know I wanted a gold, but I'm proud of myself. I showed up, had a great preparation and I really gave it everything. He (Cruz) was just a bit too good today unfortunately.

Australian boxer Harry Garside will take home a bronze medal
Australian boxer Harry Garside will take home a bronze medal.

'I go back to the drawing board, back to the gym and I'll make sure I train harder and I'll make sure I be better hopefully next time I fight him.

'I felt outclassed a little bit, but I had a red hot crack, mate. That's all Australians do, we have a red hot dip.

'Hopefully I've inspired the next generation of boxers and young athletes leading into the 2032 Games. Let's hope it is our most successful games ever.'

Garside made a statement when he ripped off his boxing gloves following his quarter-final win to reveal his nails had been painted in a rainbow pattern.

'I just want to break stereotypes, to be honest,' he said after the fight.

'There's a lot of people out there who feel like they have to be something because they're a male or a female. I'm all about just being different.'

The qualified plumber admitted he considered wearing a dress to to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

'But I didn't want to offend anyone,' the six-time national amateur champion added.

'I feel like some people might take it the wrong way, so this is my way of showcasing something.'

Garside later flashed his nails again for the camera after his quarter-final win to share on social media.

'Forgot to get these out on TV, fresh nails,' he captioned the close-up.

'Thank you everyone for the love, doing this for Australia.'

Garside implemented ballet into his training regimen several years ago to improve his footwork and balance.

'I'm not going to lie, I'd always wanted to try ballet. I say I do it for boxing, but really, I have always wanted to dance,' Garside said.

'Ballet's very tough, the power through the legs that they generate, the coordination, everything is just so extreme.'

Australia hasn't won an Olympic boxing medal since Grahame 'Spike' Cheney won silver at the 1988 Games in Seoul.

Australian previously won bronze with Kevin Hogarth in 1956, and Oliver Taylor and Anthony Madigan at the 1960 Games in Rome.

Cruz will now go head to head with American Keyshawn Davis for the gold medal on Sunday.

Australia's ballet-loving boxer picks up bronze after crashing out of the semi-finals in Tokyo against Cuba's Andy Cruz in a tense bout in the ring
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