Double gold for GB’s boxers, double bronze for hosts
The final night of the boxing competition at the Youth Olympic Games Buenos Aires 2018 proved to be a productive one for Great Britain and Argentina’s boxers.
Karol Itauma took the men’s light heavyweight title for Team GB, while team-mate Caroline Sara Dubois won the women’s lightweight crown. Just for good measure, fellow Briton Hassan Azim chipped in with the men’s light welterweight bronze.
As for Argentina, Mirco Cuello and Victoria Saputo landed respective men’s bantamweight and women’s lightweight bronzes to go with the men’s welterweight gold won by compatriot Brian Arregui the previous day.
The day’s first gold medal went to Abdumalik Khalokov of Uzbekistan as he earned a unanimous 5-0 decision to beat Ukraine’s Maksym Halinichev to the men’s bantamweight title. Cuello earned the bronze at the expense of Morocco’s Abdessamad Abbaz, to the delight of a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Youth Olympic Park’s Oceania Pavilion.
“The key to the fight was to give it everything in the final round,” said the Argentinian. “My opponent was tired and I still had something left in the tank. I’m very happy. I wanted the gold but I’m still going away very happy.”
Russia’s Ilia Popov then defeated Kazakhstan’s Talgat Shaiken 4-1 in a keenly contested men’s light welterweight gold medal bout, while Azam won Great Britain’s first medal of the evening thanks to a 5-0 defeat of Morocco’s Mohammed Boulaouja.
Azam’s team-mate Itauma then pocketed the last men’s boxing gold of Buenos Aires 2018 in the men’s light heavyweight final, the Briton closing out a 4-1 win over Russia’s Ruslan Kolesnikov. Uzbekistan’s Timur Merjanov made the bronze his with a 5-0 decision over Egypt’s Youssef Ali Karar Ali Moussa.
The women then took their turn in the ring, as Italy’s Martina La Piana bettered Nigeria’s Adijat Gbadamosi by a unanimous 5-0 verdict in the flyweight gold medal bout, with every judge scoring the fight 30-27 in the Italian’s favour. The bronze went to USA’s Heaven Destiny Garcia, a 5-0 winner over Bulgaria’s Goryana Stoeva.
The very last gold of the competition was awarded to Great Britain’s Dubois, who saw off Thailand’s Porntip Buapa 5-0 in the women’s lightweight final, having defeated home boxer Saputo in the semi-finals 48 hours earlier.
“I really felt it was my best performance of the tournament,” said Dubois after defeating the Thai. “My coach told me that if I switched on and went 100%, I would get it. I just turned on.”
There was more medal joy for Argentina in the preceding bout, as Saputo recovered from her loss to Dubois to earn a 5-0 win over Australia’s Emma Lawson.
“It’s been really tough: many years of training, hard work, and sacrifices,” said Saputo. “It’s all been worth it because I’ve achieved my dream and won the bronze. I dreamed about this when I was a little girl and I’m very proud at what I’ve done. I’m going to dedicate it to my dad [former Olympic boxer Guillermo Saputo] because he’s always supported and advised me. He’s my hero. Everything I know is down to him.”