Arlen Lopez and Robeisy Ramirez flew the flag for Cuban boxing by winning gold, while Great Britain’s Nicola Adams successfully defended her women’s flyweight title.
World champion Arlen Lopez beat Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev to the men’s middleweight title, his country’s third gold medal of the Rio boxing tournament. Fighting half an hour after compatriot Robeisy Ramirez had won gold, Lopez took the opening rounds before easing off slightly in the third. Lopez always looked the more polished fighter in a repeat of the 2015 world championship final. He closed out the draw with a 3-0 win.
“There were a few moments where I was getting signs that made me feel like I had it in my hand. I was convinced I was winning and my excitement kept growing,” the Cuban said confidently. “I had to finish the last round at 100%. It’s the last round, you have to give it your all. I have four titles now and the only thing left is to do it again in four years.”
In 2015, Lopez triumphed in the Pan American Games as well as the Pan American Championships. Cuban boxers have now won middleweight gold five times, equalling the United States and Great Britain. Azerbaijan's Kamran Shakhsuvarly and Mexico's Misael Rodriguez took the bronze medals as losing semi-finalists.
Ramirez takes bantamweight title in narrow victory
Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez, London 2012 flyweight gold medallist, beat American Shakur Stevenson in the men’s bantamweight final on a 2-1 split decision. Ramirez made his experience count by winning the first round but lost the second to go into the third with the scores level. The three scorecards that counted had him winning the final around 10-9 10-9 9-10.
Assessing his opponent, Ramirez said: “He's very good, he's young and he is a big hope of the future for the sport. It was a little hard to fight against him but no-one here goes into their fights unprepared. I just kept trying to do my best so that the judges would see my work and think that I deserved the win.”
“Ever since I started boxing and I won my first in London, I was always thinking about the second, third or fourth. I am really happy to win this gold medal. A lot of people didn’t expect me to win, but I did,” the Cuban added. Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin and Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev took the bronze medals.
Adams retains women's flyweight title
The first woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal became the first to repeat the feat when Great Britain's Nicola Adams retained her flyweight title, beating France's Sarah Ourahmoune in the final. Adams had fought the Frenchwoman on four previous occasions, winning every time. Fighting out of the red corner, the Briton was clearly ahead in a brisk first round and used her longer reach to good effect in the second. The third saw Ourahmoune getting in some combinations to narrow the gap, but it was all too late.
Adams was beaming with pride: “I’m absolutely over the moon. I’m now the most accomplished amateur boxer that Britain has ever had. It’s a nice title to have. It’s been an amazing journey. It’'s always tricky when you’ve boxed someone so many times. They know a lot of your movements so you have to keep changing things up through the bout.”
Ren Cancan of China, the 2012 silver medallist, and Colombia's Ingrit Valencia Victoria took bronze as losing semi-finalists. Women's boxing was introduced to the Olympics at the 2012 London Games, with Adams the first of three champions.