At the final bell of boxing competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov let out a primal scream, and given the brutal, hard-hitting encounter he had just had with U.S. powerhouse Richard Torrez Jr., the emotion was understandable.
But despite Torrez’s focus on staying low and delivering powerful body blows to combat the size advantage of his opponent – 6’7” compared to his own 6’2” – he could not effectively combat the Uzbek’s reach. After Torrez earned the judges’ favor 3-2 in the first round, Jalolov overpowered the American in the following two, ultimately winning by unanimous decision. Torrez, who impressed throughout the tourney in his Olympic debut, took silver.
This was the first Olympic medal for both super heavyweights.
Cuba rules the ring in Tokyo with fourth boxing gold
A methodical first round loaded with long-distance precision strikes morphed into a face-to-face flurry of punches in the second as Keyshawn Davis of the U.S. and Cuba’s Andy Cruz vied for lightweight gold.
Although Davis seemed to gain momentum in the third round, using rapid-fire combinations to break Cruz’s defenses, the man known as “The Matador” proved more bullish to the judges, who awarded the Cuban the win 4-1.
This win marked Cuba’s fourth gold medal in men’s boxing after dominating the welterweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions. This was also Cuba’s fifth straight gold medal in the lightweight class.
Although disappointed with the loss, silver medal winner Davis remains focused on whatever comes next.
“I’m a champion whether I get the gold medal or not, man,” he said as he left the ring. “Shout out to all my supporters, shout to all [the] U.S.A., I’m happy for myself. We’re just gonna take it to the next level, man. I ain’t tripping.”
Kellie Harrington earns hard-fought gold for Ireland
After trading blows for an evenly matched three rounds, Ireland’s Kellie Harrington and Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira collapsed into each other in an emotional embrace – a show of respect between two world class athletes who had both, arguably, earned a gold medal.
In the end, though, it was Harrington who had earned the judges’ favor, edging out Ferreira on points across the cards to be named the new Olympic women’s lightweight boxing champion 5-0. The weight of the moment was written on her tear-streaked face from the instant she was announced as the winner to the moment the Irish flag was raised in the historic Kokugikan Arena during the medal ceremony.
Harrington is Ireland’s second gold medalist since women’s boxing debuted at the Olympic Games in 2012, when Katie Taylor took the top spot.
Lauren Price of Great Britain scores middleweight gold with strategic three rounds
Lauren Price held a boxing clinic at the Kokugikan Arena en route to a gold medal win in the women’s middleweight final and conveyed an important lesson to the boxing world: Don’t throw six punches when one will do.
Maintaining a slow pace and striking only when it counted, Price kept China’s Li Qian at bay for three rounds, earning victory by unanimous decision.