Peter Kadiru of Germany upset the odds in the boxing ring and then paid tribute to his mother for the sacrifices which allowed him to take up the sport.
Kadiru beat favourite Daramni Rock of the USA by three rounds to nil in the men’s super-heavyweight final, avenging his defeat at the World Youth Championships in Sofia earlier this year. Cheered on by dozens of his Team Germany colleagues, Kadiru wrapped up a busy final day of boxing at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games where 10 men’s gold medals were decided in the International Expo Centre.
It was a case of saving the best story until last too, as Kadiru’s coach Michael Temm revealed that the young boxer hands over what little money he makes to his mother, Janet. “Peter is born and bred in Hamburg, but the family is originally from Ghana," Temm said. "This boy does so much for his family with whatever small money he earns from his boxing. He gives it all to his mother. Look at the size of the team that has come down to support him. We have no words. They are definitely a part of his winning moment."
Softly-spoken Kadiru, who posed for photo after photo with volunteers, added: “My mother Janet has been my pillar of support for my whole life. She is a lovely mother. She has been with me through the bad times and the good times. She was there when no one else was there for me and my brother Kevin. If you ask me what sacrifices she made, I will not be able to tell you – she made so many. Every little thing counts, I am grateful to her. I was desperate for the gold for my family and my team."
The defeated Rock was roared on by a large Team USA contingent, with fellow boxer Shakur Stevenson the main cheerleader. Stevenson had earlier won gold in the flyweight category, before promising to do it all over again in Rio (2016 Olympic Games). The American has fought 15 international bouts in his short but impressive career, and won all of them. Number 15 was a unanimous three-round win over China’s LYU Ping, who had the crowd on his side but never had an answer to the rangy reach of his opponent.
Stevenson wrapped a Star and Stripes bandana round his head while the national anthem was played and then showed he was equally at home chatting about his victory. The Rio 2016 Olympic Games is on the boy from New Jersey’s radar. “I might lose one day, but it’s not going to happen any time soon," he said. "The fight went exactly to plan. I’m not frightened of anything and I aim to go to Rio to win gold.”
Cuba showed they are continuing to produce world-class boxing talent, by finishing the final day in the ring with two golds. Javier Ibanez Diaz found Bulgarian Dushko Mihaylov no obstacle at all in the men’s bantamweight division, beating him 3-0.
His team-mate Yordan Alain Hernandez Morejon enjoyed a tighter contest against Croatia’s Toni Filipi in the men’s heavyweight class, splitting the judges 2-1 in his favour. Cuba were unable to make it triple gold, though, when Alain Limonta Boudet lost 2-1 to Ablaikhan Zhussupov (KAZ) in the men’s lightweight.
Rufat Huseynov of Azerbaijan collapsed to the canvas in happiness after beating Sulaymon Latipov (UZB) 3-0 in the men’s light fly. “I kept telling myself that I am a champion and that I will only go home with the gold. I am on the right path,” Huseynov said. “I will become European champion, and then Olympic champion."
The most convincing win of the session went to Italy’s light welterweight Vincenzo Arecchia, who was awarded a walkover win against Toshihiro Suzuki (JPN) after Suzuki was deemed unfit to fight. Suzuki was diagnosed with concussion after his semi-final victory and was withdrawn by the Japan team as a precaution.
Juan Solano (DOM) tumbled on to the canvas in a grappling contest with Bektemir Melikuziev (UZB) in the first round of their men’s welter final and was given a standing count in the final round. Not surprisingly Melikuziev took the judges’ unanimous verdict.
There was little love lost between Dmitrii Nesterov of Russia and Ramil Gadzhyiev of Ukraine in the men’s middleweight final. Both boxers had loud, flag-waving support in the hall and it was the yellow of Ukraine celebrating after a 3-0 win. Gadzhyiev said: “I feel so proud of my ability to win. This is a happy moment for me."
Blagoy Naydenov (BUL) beat Vadim Kazakov (KAZ) 3-0 in the light heavyweight division. “I knew I was the favourite and I knew there was pressure but it is no problem,” he said.