Day 10, morning session: Japan’s Sena IRIE wins first Tokyo 2020’s Boxing gold

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 03: Women’s Feather (52-57kg) gold medalist Sena Irie of Team Japan poses with her medal during the Victory Ceremony on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on August 03, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

20-year-old Japanese boxer IRIE Sena won the first gold medal of the Tokyo 2020 Boxing Olympic Tournament, at the Kokugikan Arena, today. The young Japanese talent prevailed over Nesthy PETECIO of the Philippines in a thrilling Women’s Feather (54-57kg) final match, securing Japan’s first ever gold medal in a women boxing event. The last Japanese boxer to win Olympic gold had been MURATA Ryota (JPN), in the men’s middleweight class, in 2012.

IRIE also became the second-youngest female boxer to claim Olympic gold, after Claressa SHIELDS (USA), who was 19 years when she won the Women’s Middle (69-75kg) in 2012, and the second female boxer to claim an Olympic medal on home soil, after Nicola ADAMS (GBR) in the Women’s Fly (48-52kg) in London (gold).

Speaking after the medal ceremony, the young Japanese boxer said: “By the time I came back to my senses I heard Kimigayo(the national anthem) playing. That’s when I felt like I became the best in the world. It made me tear up. I opened the door of history completely. I have sacrificed this past year to boxing. I don’t even feel like it’s finished.”

IRIE also commented on what this medal means for women’s boxing: “By winning this medal, I hope the media gives more coverage on women’s boxing and the sport expands. People may think women who box are violent and have a rough temper, but I think I proved today that is not the case.”

The silver medal went to Nesthy PETECIO (PHI) who gave the Philippines its first Olympic medal in boxing since 1996 when Mansueto VELASCO (PHI) took silver in the men’s light fly event.

PETECIO claimed the Philippines its second medal of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, following a gold medal won by weightlifter Hidilyn DIAZ (PHI). It is only the second time the Philippines has won multiple medals at a single Olympic Games since 1932.

The Pilipino boxer, expressing her emotions after the match said: “It means a lot to me because I dedicate this win aside from my family, for my country, for my best friend who died last February 13th. Especially I dedicate this win, this medal, to my coaches, especially Nolito VELASCO (PHI). I’ve seen how he sacrificed a lot for this competition, so that’s why I’m emotional. Really emotional because this is an important tournament not [just] for me, but for my country and for my coaches.”

She also wanted to send a message to LGBTQ+ people: “I would like to say this, I am proud to be part of the LGB [community].”

The two bronze medalists on the podium were Italy’s Irma TESTA, who handed Italy its 48th Olympic medal in boxing and its first ever in a women’s event, and Karriss ARTINGSTALL (GBR), who became the second female boxer representing Great Britain to win a medal at the Olympic Games, after Nicola ADAMS who won the Women’s Fly (48-52kg) in 2012 and 2016.

Speaking after the medal ceremony, ARTINGSTALL explained her plans after these Olympic Games: “I’m going to go to Paris [2024]. I do want to turn professional at some point but in the pro game, I’m just not ready for it at the minute. I want to tick all the boxes off as an amateur. I’ve got a world medal, a European medal, now an Olympic medal. I need a Commonwealth medal and a European Games medal, and then I’ll be making my way over to the pro scene.

TESTA expressed her feelings on winning Italy’s 600th medal at the Olympics: “I can only say that I am really proud. For me, it was really important to win a medal in order to make women’s boxing in Italy more popular. So, it’s the first medal ever for women’s boxing [in Italy], and with this medal, I can show young girls in Italy that boxing is also a sport for women and not just men. I think today is proof of that.”

Earlier, during today’s morning session, Ryomei TANAKA (JPN) made once again Japan proud after defeating Olympic Games Rio 2016 silver medallist Yuberjen Herney MARTINEZ RIVAS (COL) in their Men’s Fly (48-52kg) quarterfinal bout.

Right after, the 23-year-old from the Philippines Carlo PAALAM claimed a great victory over Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin ZOIROV. The Pilipino boxer at the end of a fierce match continues his brilliant Olympic path.

Later in the session, in the Men’s Feather (52-75kg) semifinal, Duke RAGAN (USA) and Samuel TAKYI (GHA) put on an impressive show. After a close match, United States of America’s RAGAN clinched a 3:2 split decision victory to reach the final. On the other hand, TAKYI closed can now bring back home in Ghana a memorable bronze medal.

In the following bout, there was another success for the US team: 22-year-old Keyshawn DAVIS triumphed over Gabil MAMEDOV (ROC) by 4:1 points. As a result, DAVIS guaranteed the United States of America their fourth medal in this boxing tournament. Next up for the American boxer is seed #4 Hovhannes BACHKOV of Armenia who was able to secure a spot in the semifinal of the Men’s Light (57-63kg) division (6 August), beating Uzbekistan’s Elnur ABDURAIMOV via a unanimous decision.

Top seed Muslim GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (ROC) keeps going on in the Olympic tournament after defeating the #4 seeded David NYIKA (NZL). The boxer from the Russian Olympic Committee will be on the stage for the Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) final aiming at his first Olympic gold medal.

In the Women’s Light (57-60kg) category, top runner Kellie Anne HARRINGTON (IRL) keeps shining: after today’s victory over Imane KHELIF (ALG) by 5:0 she secured the semifinal match against Sudaporn SEESONDEE (THA). The Thai boxer, after a tight bout against the young British talent Caroline DUBOIS (GBR), came out on top with a close-call 3:2 split decision.

Event schedule and results

Find the event schedule and the results here.  

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