Albert BATYRGAZIEC of the Russian Olympic Committee became the new Men’s Feather (52-57kg) Olympic Champion today, as he beat USA’s Duke RAGAN, from Cincinnati, OH, via a 3:2 split decision at Tokyo’s Kokugikan Arena.
The 23-year-old first-time Olympian earned a 10 from four out of five judges in both the first and the second rounds, leaving almost no chances to RAGAN. The ROC’s athlete played defensive in round three, managing his advantage to finish atop of the podium and to collect his first gold medal ever in a world-level competition.
BATYRGAZIEC said: “The Olympic Games is serious business. I am so glad that I managed to prove to everyone that I deserved this victory.”
“There’s no easy bout, there’s no easy rival here at the Olympic Games. All boxers who made it here to Tokyo deserve respect and are a potential winner.”
BATYRGAZIEC only started competing in boxing five years ago, after a junior career in kickboxing events: “I was the Russian kickboxing champion before I turned 18,” he commented. “I set a new goal for myself when I turned 18 and moved on to boxing. I was dreaming of an Olympic gold. And I made it. Five years later, I made my dream come true.”
RAGAN, the 2019 Pan American Games bantamweights silver medalist, collected silver, USA’s 12th Olympic medal in the men’s featherweight division, more than double than any other NOC.
“I gave my 100%. I couldn’t find my rhythm in the first rounds. Only later in the bout. But then it was too late,” RAGAN said, commenting on his bout.
The 23-year-old American boxer had decided to turn professional in August 2020, after the 2020 Olympic Games were postponed. He won his first four fights as a professional, but in June 2021 he was offered the chance to compete at the Games as he qualified through the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) rankings.
“I got the call saying that I’m qualified and it’s like a dream come true. This is all I ever wanted, it was always my goal to go to the Olympics,” the American boxer commented. “I am so blessed to be here.”
Bronze medals went to Lazaro ALVAREZ of Cuba and Samuel TAKYI of Ghana.
ALVAREZ became the first boxer to win three Olympic medals in three different weight categories – having collected bronze medals both at the London Games, in the bantamweights, and in Rio de Janeiro (lightweights). After the medal ceremony he said:
“I will continue on to the Paris 2024 Olympics, I will be competing in the welterweight category, and I hope I can win a fourth medal at my fourth participation.”
Earlier today, the Women’s Light (57-60kg), Men’s Fly (48-52kg) and Men’s Middle (69-75kg) semifinals bouts were contested here at the Kokugikan Arena.
In the Women’s Light (57-60kg) event, top seed Kellie Anne HARRINGTON (IRL)and Sudaporn SEESONDEE (THA) lit up the stage with a tight semifinal round. The 31-year-old from Ireland came up on top with a close 3:2 split decision, moving on to gold medal match. In the final bout, scheduled on 8 August, she will square off against Beatriz FERREIRA of Brazil, who outscored Finland’s Mira Marjut Johanna POTKONEN with a sharp 5:0.
Carlo PAALAM (PHI) secured a unanimous decision victory in the Men’s Fly (48-53kg) semifinal, disappointing Japan’s Ryomei TANAKA. The Pilipino boxer is now up for a final bout against Great Britain’s Galal YAFAI who prevailed over Saken BIBOSSINOV (KAZ) via a 3-2 split decision after a high-energy match.
In another intense semifinal bout, Oleksandr KHYZHNIAK (UKR) clinched a hard-fought 3:2 win over Eumir MARCIAL of the Philippines in the Men’s Middle (69-75kg) division. The top runner from Ukraine will climb onto the ring again on 7 August, when he will face Brazil’s Hebert SOUSA (who defeated 4:1 ROC’s 2019 World champ Gleb BAKSHI) in the final round of the tournament.
Event schedule and results
Find the event schedule and the results here.
Updated Draw Sheets