Olympic boxing’s final night in London had close bouts and blowouts, but thankfully avoided the controversy that has dogged the rest of the tournament (for the most part). After 272 fights, it’s all over. Britain’s Anthony Joshua capped off a great showing for the host nation, winning the gold medal on countback in the super heavyweight division in the final boxing contest of the games (despite a protest from Italy). Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko confirmed his status as amateur boxing’s pound-for-pound best, while Great Britains’s Freddie Evans disappointed in front of his own crowd. To mix sports metaphors, the Olympic boxing tournament was a marathon, not a sprint and TQBR was proud to bring it to you in all its lengthy glory. Thanks for tuning in to our coverage, we’ll be back to the guys without headgear pronto.
(Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko, right, in action against South Korea’s Soonchul Han, left; photo via London 2012 Olympics website)
Flyweight – 52kg/114.6lb
Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana (Cuba)-Tugstsogt Nyambayar (Mongolia), 17-14: Way to start the night off with a bang. The 18-year-old Cuban wasn’t anywhere near as dominant as expected in a fight that had everything; phone booth slugging, pinpoint counterpunching and constant action. Mongolia’s Nyambayar kept within one point through the first two rounds, but Ramirez turned it up in the 3rd and won 17-14.
Lightweight – 60kg/132.2lb
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine)-Soonchul Han (South Korea), 19-9: This went much as expected, with Lomachenko landing very hard, very accurate shots throughout. Lomachenko was up by five after the 1st, 7-2, and only increased his lead from there. Han couldn’t do anything; even when he tried to clinch, Lomachenko was punishing him to the body with shoe-shine combinations. Han knew he couldn’t win but gave it a go. Lomachenko will be a world champ within two years.
Welterweight – 69kg/152.1lb
Serik Sapiyev (Kazakhstan)-Freddie Evans (Great Britain), 17-9: Evans came out to The Clash’s “London Calling” and the crowd went wild. Both southpaws had taken rounds off in the bouts that led to the gold medal match, but I don’t think anyone expected Evans to take the entire fight off in front of his home crowd. He was down 4-2 after the 1st, 10-5 after the 2nd and ended up losing 17-9 in a fight that he’ll likely look back on and wonder why he didn’t let his hands go. Sapiyev, for his part, was just on another level.
Light Heavyweight 81kg/178.5lb
Egor Mekhontcev (Russia)-Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan), 15-15: Niyazymbetov didn’t deserve to be in the final, but saved his best for last. Despite Mekhontcev landing the harder shots, the Kazakh scored consistently with the jab and avoided the worst of the Russian’s fire. He was up 4-3 after the 1st, but Mekhontcev’s pressure evened it up 8-8 in the 2nd. There was absolutely nothing in it in the last round, with neither man separating himself. After a 15-15 draw it was level following countback and Mekhontcev was the choice of the majority of judges. I guess he sucked less than Niyazymbetov over the course of the games, so good on him.
Super Heavyweight – 91kg+/200.6lb+
Anthony Joshua (Great Britain)-Roberto Cammarelle (Italy), 18-18: London’s Joshua entered to rapturous applause from the home crowd. Joshua looked to be controlling the 1st round with his length until he got trapped in the Italian’s corner and punished with Cammarelle’s right hook. He went into the 2nd down 6-5 and the story repeated itself in the same corner. Up 13-10 at the end of the 2nd frame, Cammarelle’s cornermen slapped his face, willing the defending Olympic champion to keep it together. Throughout the fight Joshua didn’t use his length effectively and stood in Cammarelle’s range, which made for a hugely entertaining fight. The 22-year-old Englishman stepped it up for the final round. After an agonising wait, the scores came back tied 18-18 and Joshua got it on countback. A fairytale for Joshua and British fans, but a bitter disappointment for Cammarelle, who unsuccessfully protested the decision. If TQBR had to pick it, we’d have gone with Cammarelle.