Julio La CRUZ lifted Cuba atop of the Tokyo 2020 podium, at the Kokugikan Arena, today, as he claimed the Men’s Heavyweights (81-91kg) Olympic title, defeating Muslim GADZHIMAGOMEDOV of the Russian Olympic Committee by a landslide unanimous decision of the five judges (5:0 points).
La CRUZ, the 2016 Light-Heavyweights Olympic Champion, secured his second Olympic gold back-to-back through an energetic and spectacular performance, putting up a show made of speed and explosiveness. The Cuban boxer always managed to be out of reach (no surprise he’s dubbed “the untouchable”) in spite of his opponent’s height advantage, stinging back with extreme precision at every given chance.
“There was a lot of attention on the fight as my opponent is the current world champion,” said La CRUZ. “But my team and trainers gave me a lot of confidence that I could win the fight, and they were right. They said that I had to believe in myself.”
“I think the judges did a great job here in Tokyo,” he continued. “We boxers did our best and put up a great show for the world to enjoy. The judges were part of this equation, with their fair decisions.”
La CRUZ is the third Cuban to win gold here in Tokyo, after the victories of Arlen LOPEZ in the Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) and of Roniel IGLESIAS in the Men’s Welter (63-69kg) events.
The 31-year-old legendary boxer is now looking forward to Paris 2024, where he could become the third Cuban boxer to earn three Olympic titles in the history of the sport.
“We have been training very hard and we will continue to do so,” La CRUZ commented. “I am certainly looking forward to Paris, and to win another gold medal there. There’re many capable boxers in this wight class, as we have seen here in Tokyo, so we will need to work even harder to succeed at the next Games.”
24-year-old GADZHIMAGOMEDOV, who had walked into the Games as the reigning world champion, secured today’s silver, setting his sights on Paris 2024.
Abner TEIXEIRA of Brazil and David NYIKA of New Zealand were awarded the event’s bronze medals.
Earlier in today’s session, the Women’s Middle (69-75kg) and Men’s Light (57-63kg) semifinals saw four more athletes advancing to the final matches.
Top-seed Lauren PRICE, representing Great Britain, made it to the Women’s Middle (69-75kg) gold medal final. In today’s semifinal bout, the boxer from Sheffield prevailed over the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Nouchka FONTIJN of The Netherlands, through a 3:2 split decision victory. Next up for her is the #2 seeded LI Qian of the People’s Republic of China, who booked a slot in the 8 August’s final following a unanimous decision win over Zenfira MAGOMEDALIEVA (ROC).
In the Men’s Light (57-63kg) division, the first semifinal saw 22-year-old Keyshawn DAVIS (USA) defeating Armenia’s Hovhannes BACHKOV. The boxer from Alexandria, VA, marched on with a 5:0 victory and is now only one step away from the brightest medal. On his way to the highest step of the podium, he will meet Andy CRUZ of Cuba, who dominated his semifinal bout against Harry GARSIDE of Australia from the first to the last round, earning a unanimous verdict.
Event schedule and results:
Find the event schedule and the results here.
Updated Draw Sheets: