The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Boxing Tournament came to an end today, Sunday 8 August, with the last four gold medal matches held at the Kokugikan Arena, the indoor sporting venue widely recognized as the spiritual home of the Japanese national sport of Sumo wrestling.
There, 276 bouts were held in 13 weight categories (eight men’s and five women’s events), with 289 athletes (102 women boxers and 187 male boxers) from 80 National Olympic Committees and the Refugee Olympic Team competing from 24 July through 8 August. This represented a major improvement in terms of gender equity, compared to past editions of the Games: the number women’s weight categories have been increased from three at Rio 2016 (36 participating women) to five at Tokyo 2020 (102 participating women), and the number of men’s weight categories has been reduced from ten at Rio 2016 to eight at Tokyo 2020.
A total of 25 different countries finished on the podium here in Tokyo, compared to 19 countries at Rio 2016.
Cuba finished atop of the medal table of the tournament, collecting an impressive number of four gold and one bronze, for a total tally of 5 medals.
Cuban boxers were on the podium in five out of eight men’s event, winning half of the men’s titles up for grab here in Tokyo, thanks to Andy CRUZ (men’s light) Roniel IGLESIAS (men’s welter), Arlen LOPEZ (men’s light heavy) and Julio La CRUZ (men’s heavy). Lazaro ALVAREZ joined them in the standings table by claiming bronze in the men’s feather.
Great Britain finished in second, with two medals of each colors, and tied the Russian Olympic Committee (1 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze) atop of the rank by total with a tally of six medals. Brazil followed in fourth place, with its best Olympic result ever in boxing (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze).
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 were a stage of success, records, and historical achievements for a number of athletes and countries.
Home hero IRIE Sena (JPN) – who won the first title of the tournament on her home turf, competing in a newly established women event – became the first female boxer representing Japan to win an Olympic medal when she claimed gold in the women’s feather final on 3 August. At 20 years old, IRIE became the second-youngest female boxer to claim an Olympic tile in the history of the sport, after Claressa SHIELDS (USA), who was 19 years when she won the women’s middle in 2012.
In the same event, bronze medalists Irma TESTA (ITA) handed Italy its 48th Olympic medal in boxing and its first ever in a women’s event, and Nesthy PETECIO (PHI) gave Philippines its first Olympic medal in boxing since 1996. A few days later, on 7 August, PETECIO’s teammate Carlo PAALAM became the first man representing Philippines in 25 years to claim an Olympic medal in any sport, as he secured the men’s fly silver medal.
On 3 August, competing in the men’s welterweights event, Cuba’s Roniel IGLESIAS won his second Olympic gold medal after claiming the light-welter in 2012. He is the seventh boxer to win two weight categories at the Olympic Games, and the third from Cuba. At the same time, IGLESIAS claimed his third Olympic medal in total after also taking bronze in the light-welter in 2008, equaling Cuban record of three Olympic medals in the sport, achieved by Felix SAVON (3 gold), Teofilo STEVENSON (3 gold) and Lazaro ALVAREZ (3 bronze). The Cuban champion is now on the way to his fourth Olympic Games, having said that he will try his best to participate and break all records in Paris 2024.
His teammate Arlen LOPEZ (CUB) followed him on the podium on 4 August, winning the men’s light-heavy event, to become the eighth boxer to win Olympic gold medals in two events, and the first to achieve this in the men’s middleweight (2016) and men’s light heavyweight (2020). But that was not all, for dream-team Cuba: on 5 August, in the men’s featherweight category, Lazaro ALVAREZ (CUB) finished in third and became the first boxer to win an Olympic boxing medal in three different weight categories. The 30-year-old took bronze in the men’s bantam in 2012 and finished third in the men’s light in 2016. Sharing the third step the podium with him, here in Tokyo, Samuel TAKYI gave Ghana its fifth Olympic medal in any sport and the first since the men’s football team took bronze in Barcelona in 1992.
On 7 August, three out of four medalists of the women’s fly event won a first-time medal in female boxing for their respective countries. Gold medalist Stoyka Zhelyazkova KRASTEVA gave Bulgaria its first Olympic Games gold medal in boxing since Atlanta 1996 and became the first woman representing Bulgaria to win an Olympic Games medal in boxing. Silver medalist Buse Naz CAKIROGLU (TUR) became the first woman representing Turkey to win an Olympic Games medal in the sport, while bronze medalist HUANG Hsiao-Wen (TPE) claimed the first boxing medal for her country. Later in the day, CAKIROGLU’s teammate Busenaz SURMENELI (TUR) became the first person representing Turkey to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, when she took the women’s welter title.
In today’s women’s light event, bronze medalist Mira POTKONEN (FIN), who is 40-year and 264-day-old, became the oldest individual Olympic medallist from Finland since 1948, when artistic gymnast Heikki SAVOLAINEN (40 years, 320 days) won gold in the men’s pommel horse. POTKONEN, a bronze medallist in women’s lightweight at Rio 2016 and the 2019 world championships, also became the oldest Olympic medallist in boxing across all events, beating the record held by Great Britain’s Richard GUNN, who was 37 years old when he won the men’s featherweight gold in 1908.
Another women’s medal – the silver won by Beatriz FERREIRA at today’s lightweights final – finished in the spotlights as it turned out to be Brazil’s 20th medal in Tokyo, a fresh record for the country whose previous best had been a total tally of 19 at the Rio Games.
Results and Drawsheets: