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Kazakhstan’s Daniyar Yeleussinov outpointed Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov to win welterweight gold in Rio and make it four Olympic titles in a row for his country in his boxing division.
It is only the second time such a feat has been achieved and the first such streak involving four different boxers. Kazakhstan’s golden welterweight run began with Bakhtiyar Artayev at Athens 2004, with Bakhyt Sarsekbayev continuing it at Beijing 2008 and Serik Sapiyev doing likewise at London 2012. Cuba won the heavyweight class at four successive Olympics between 1992 and 2004, though the great Felix Savon was responsible for the first three of those titles, with Odlanier Solis taking the fourth.
Morocco’s Mohammed Rabii and France’s Souleymane Diop Cissokho, who lost to Yeleussinov when their semi-final fight was stopped by a clash of heads, picked up the bronze medals.
The elusive Kazakh took the first round of the final 10-9 on all three of the judges’ scorecards, and produced more of the same in the second round, ducking and shimmying and bouncing off the ropes as Giyasov tried to pin him down. Though the third round went to the Uzbek, it was too little, too late to prevent a 3-0 win for his opponent, with Giyasov being denied the opportunity to wheel out his now-familiar open-mouthed victory celebration, which has given the Rio crowds such entertainment over the last few days
After adding his name to an increasingly long list of Kazakh Olympic welterweight champions, Yeleussinov said: “It’s our weight, 69kg, and I’ve just proved it again. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because we are so talented in this great category. I won gold and I’m very happy about it. Very glad.”