By Patrick Johnston
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Luke Campbell emulated team mate Nicola Adams's golden performance on Saturday when he handed the host's men's team their first London Olympic success, beating Irish bantamweight John Joe Nevin in front a buzzing crowd.
World championship silver medalist Campbell, who beat Nevin in the semi-finals of last year's event by the tightest of margins, came out on top of another close contest, knocking the Irishman down in the final round to seal a 14-11 victory.
An emotional Campbell became the first Briton to win the Olympic bantamweight title since 1908 and further added to the hosts gold haul in London.
"I'm lost for words, very emotional," Campbell told the BBC.
"It's something I've worked for all my life. I can't believe it. Nevin's a top fighter, it was a very difficult fight, very technical. It was just about outwitting each other.
"I had to be on my game to win and thankfully I was. I can't believe it.
Campbell, boxing smartly on the counter, took an exciting first round that was one of the best of the last fortnight by two points.
The duo, whose families are friends, were roared on by a passionate crowd and took and threw punches in the tight exchanges.
Nevin, who resisted the temptation of turning professional to better his performance at the Beijing Games when he returned home empty-handed, caught the 24-year-old Briton with the tougher shots in the second round to close the gap to a point.
However, there seemed little doubt about the result halfway through the final round when Nevin leaned to try and land a left only to be put on his back by a countering right hook that sent the British half of the crowd wild.
Campbell was close to tears as he awaited the verdict and could hold them no longer when the result was announced, embracing Nevin and holding his hand up before leaving the ring to a huge reception.
"Congratulations to Luke, he's a fantastic boxer. He got his tactics right today. I maybe could have done a little bit more but I'm taking nothing away from him," Nevin told reporters.
Nevin shook his head in disappointment as he collected his medal to a large applause from the crowd that included Irish prime minister Enda Kenny.
The Irish boxer cried as the British anthem was sung by the crowd.
Losing semi-finalists Lazaro Alvarez Estrada of Cuba and Satoshi Shimizu of Japan took bronze.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Patrick Johnston; editing by Michael Holden/Greg Stutchbury)