Hebert SOUSA of Brazil won the gold medal match in the Men’s Middle (69-75kg) division owing to an unbelievable knockout victory over the top runner Oleksandr KHYZHNIAK (UKR).
The Ukraine boxer was dominating the first two rounds, ahead 20-18 on the judges’ scorecard and just a couple of minutes away from the gold medal. But in the third round KHYZHNIAK was suddenly knocked out by SOUSA with a powerful left hook that put the Ukraine boxer down on the canvas. This has been revealed to be the winning weapon of the 22-year-old Brazilian boxer who overturned the result and claimed the victory.
Hebert SOUSA became the second person representing Brazil to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing after Robson CONCEICAO (BRA) won the men’s lightweight at the Olympic Games Rio 2016.
Describing the punch of the victory, the Olympic Champion said: “I didn’t manage to do many knockouts, but I trained a lot during my training sessions. I used that backhand punch and I got lucky.”
After receiving the gold medal, he said: “It is fantastic, and I am very emotional. I want to jump. I’m very happy. Many people supported me. This medal will bring happiness to our country.”
It was still a success for silver medallist Oleksander KHYZHNIAK (UKR), who handed Ukraine its first Olympic medal in the men’s middleweight event. The previous Ukraine-born boxer to claim an Olympic medal in this event was Viktor SAVCHENKO (URS), who took silver at the Olympic Games Moscow 1980 while representing the Soviet Union.
Speaking about his future, KHYZHNIAK said: “I will try to remain in amateur boxing. I want to turn this silver into gold. I’ve played him before, and I want to face him again.”
Eumir MARCIAL of the Philippines and Gleb BAKSHI of the Russian Olympic Committee were awarded the event’s bronze medals.
Speaking about his achievement, MARCIAL commented: “I’ve been preparing for this since I was young and I’m here now. In the last two months we were in Colorado to train and do our best. I’m thankful to my coaches for training me well. I’m very thankful to all who supported me.”
BAKSHI said: “We arrived here to win, and we have a very strong team; we are happy with the results, we won six medals and we go back home feeling proud.”
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