A LAST-ditch flurry of punches in the final 20 seconds proved just enough to get Ioan Croft over the finish line following a see-sawing welterweight semi-final clash against Scotland’s Tyler Jolly at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham this evening.

The Cardigan ABC southpaw will now take on Zambia’s Stephen Zimba for the gold medal in the 67kg final at the NEC Hall at 7.45pm tomorrow.

Victory went some way to easing the disappointment the defeat of twin brother Garan against Northern Ireland’s Aidan Walsh in the light-middleweight semi-finals earlier in the day.

"The atmosphere out there was unbelievable," Ioan said afterwards. "I've never experienced anything like that in a bout before.

"Garan and I don't really come from a big boxing community, but we've shown that if we can do it anyone can.

"A massive thanks to everyone at home - their support has been unbelievable.

"I'm now really looking forward to tomorrow's final and the chance to bring that gold medal home to Crymych."

Yet Ioan’s bout against Jolly proved desperately close…

Trailing on points after the first round, the determined 20-year-old rallied to take the second against a fellow member of Team GB who he defeated at last year’s Socikas International Tournament in Lithuania.

With the outcome hinging on the final three minutes both boxers went for broke, an accidental clash of heads causing an ugly gash in the centre of Jolly’s forehead.

Although the Scotsman continued to have his successes, it was Croft who staged a grandstand finish as the clock ran down, stringing together a series of lightning-fast combinations to gain crucial points in the dying moments.

The result remained in doubt right up until the final verdict was announced, the normally composed Croft virtually collapsing to the canvas in sheer relief as he was announced winner by a split decision by a 4-1 margin.

Zimba, who represented Zambia at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, is now the sole remaining hurdle standing between Croft and a Commonwealth Games gold medal.