Cardigan boxer Ioan Croft made an eye-catching senior international debut at the weekend when winning gold at the prestigious Boxam Tournament in Spain.

Southpaw Croft, who along with twin brother Garan will be celebrating his 19th birthday next month, overcame Italian and Spanish opponents en route to an eagerly-awaited showdown with Monaco sensation Hugo Micallef in the 69 kg final in Valencia.

There the Cardigan ABC man surprised Micallef with a series of crisp combinations and excellent technical skills to take a deserved 4-1 decision.

And what was a notable Welsh triumph came on the very day it was confirmed national head coach Colin Jones, the former world welterweight title challenger, had been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Prior to the final, Croft’s dad, Cardigan ABC head coach Guy Croft, who had earlier seen Micallef beat the American favourite in the quarters, said: “The Monaco boy is good, but Ioan is very confident.”

Commenting on the final, which saw Micallef heavily floored and cut in the opening round, Croft senior said: “Ioan boxed beautifully – he looks so strong at 69kg.”

The Boxam Tournament serves as a warm-up for the EUBC European Under-22 championships, but the long-term target for both Ioan and Garan are the 2022 Commonwealth Games at Birmingham.

Ioan was unable to celebrate his gold medal with his family on his return to their Crymych farm due to strict Covid-19 restrictions, however.

The Boxam champ is currently savouring his Spanish triumph while quarantining in one of his family’s holiday lets.