Category Archives: Amateur

December 19, 2016
December 19, 2016
Uzbekistan

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

UZBEKISTAN, a country of a little over 30 million people, topped the men’s ring medal table at Rio 2016, with seven medals overall, just edging out the legendary Cubans who finished with six medals. It is however, a different story for women boxers from Uzbekistan who have yet to win either a World Championship medal or an Olympic medal. Perhaps their time will come soon?

Boxing is a very popular sport in Uzbekistan and the men have won four Olympic gold, two silver and eight bronze medals. Not a bad medal haul, when one considers that Uzbekistan only competed in its own right as an independent republic at the Atlanta Games in 1996 – where a bronze medal was secured – quite big strides in a mere 20 years then.

There is an even more impressive medal haul in the men’s World Championships, which Uzbekistan first entered in Tampere, Finland in 1993. Since then, no fewer than 30 medals have been bagged: five gold, 10 silver and 15 bronze.

Their first gold medal was won in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 by light-welterweight, Mahammatkodir Abdoollayev, while, light-middleweight, Karim Tulaganov having won their first Olympic boxing medal, a bronze in Atlanta in 1996. Two bronze medals were also gained in Sydney.

2004 in Athens produced two more bronze medals, while disappointingly there was a ‘nil return’ in 2008 in Beijing. Another single bronze was forthcoming in London 2012 and then a medal explosion followed in Rio in 2016. Uzbekistan was making its statement at the Olympic Games and notably in the boxing ring.  We will look at their medallists shortly.

Some pundits might say, perhaps with some justification, in the overall light of past results, that their Rio medal haul, might be a one-off; the counter argument perhaps just as equally strong is that they are finally coming of age on the big stage and aim to stay there. Of course only time will tell whose assessment will be the more accurate of the two.

Now back to Rio 2016, where 11 Uzbek boxers were on parade. Three gold medals came via the fists of light-flyweight Hasanboy Dusmatov, flyweight Shakhobidin Zoirov and light-welterweight Fazliddin Gaibnazarov. Silvers went to 69kgs Shakhram Giyasov and middleweight Bektemir Melikuziev and finally a couple of bronze medals went to bantamweight Murodjon Akhmadaliev and heavyweight Rustam Tulaganov.

Perhaps it was not so surprising after all that they excelled in Rio when you consider that in 2016 taking part in their first ever World Boxing Series the Uzbek Tigers reached the semi- final stage where they were whitewashed 10-0 by the eventual winners the Cuba Domadores, who in turn prevailed 9-1 over our very own British Lionhearts in the VI series final.

So what does Tokyo 2020 hold for Uzbekistan? Will it be Rio all over again or perhaps disappointment as in Beijing in 2008. Who can tell? My hunch is that medals will be won, even if not quite so plentiful as those claimed in Brazil.

December 12, 2016
December 12, 2016
Robson Conceicao

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Feedspot followFeedly follow

BOXING at the Rio 2016 was interesting  for many and varied reasons, not all good, I hasten to add; and identified the “old guard”, namely Cuba and the “new guard”, namely Uzbekistan, as the principal gold medal players in the men’s event with three a piece. Perhaps no real surprise there; but to say just how well Uzbekistan is doing these days. They are certainly the ‘new kids’ in the ring!

Other gold medals went to Brazil, the host nation, their first ever gold in the Olympic ring, while Kazakhstan, Russia and France each ‘weighed in’ with one gold.

In the women’s tournament, two of the gold medallists from London 2012, namely our very own flyweight Nicola Adams and American middleweight Claressa Shields retained their respective Olympic crowns, while there was a first gold for France at lightweight, through Estelle Mossely. The achievements once again of Adams and Shields were truly magnificent and who knows what might be in store for them in the years ahead.

Overall, in the men’s event, Uzbekistan took 7 medals, Cuba 6, France, Kazakhstan and Russia with 4 each, Azerbaijan, Team GB and the Unites States with 2 each and sole medals for Brazil (a gold), China, Croatia, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Mongolia, Morocco and Venezuela.

In the women’s tournament, the12 medals were distributed as follows: China 3, France 2 (including their first gold), the following countries each won a single medal: Team GB (gold), USA (gold), Columbia, Finland, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Netherlands

So, what conclusions can we draw from the medal tables and their distribution, given that there were 286 entrants from 76 countries.

First, you do not need to come from necessarily a country with a large population to win gold medals and head the medal tables: Cuba and Uzbekistan are clear examples of this. Cuba has a population of a little over 11 million people, roughly equivalent to the population of the Greater London area and some of its south eastern hinterland. Uzbekistan with a population of over 30 million people can hardly be described in all honesty as a ‘big country’.

Yet these two countries successfully nurture the talent they have and then let them loose on the Olympic and World stages with outstanding successes. Cuba is a truly remarkable example of a country committed to boxing. Uzbekistan, following its own internal traditions, is developing a fine tradition in boxing.

Second, home continental advantage did not really materialise in Rio. Brazil won a gold medal, Colombia got a silver and a bronze, Venezuela a bronze, but this was a very poor return from the South American continent. Argentina seems well and truly to have fallen off the gold standard and it will be a hard road for all those countries aspiring to reach Tokyo in four years’ time.

Indeed Africa, only secured a bronze from Morocco. South Africa no longer appears to be the force it once was, while Central America had to rely upon Mexico for its lone bronze medal. These countries and their respective continents have much to do to get back among the medals and it will be no easy task to do so.

Third, the poor form of the once so dominant United States of America continues, while Team GB was a shadow of its hugely successful ring outfit at London 2012, so more work to be done by both these boxing giants in time for Tokyo in 2020. There would have been disappointment too for Ireland in Rio, no doubt with various reasons attached to it

The Olympic demise of the once all conquering United States remains puzzling and somewhat surprising given their successful background in this sport. For a country of around 325 million people, their medal tally in recent Games has been disappointing and somewhat deplorable, they need to do better, I am not sure however that they will do so in the short term.

Fourth, two other relatively ‘ring newcomers’, namely Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan continue to make their mark in the Olympic ring.

Fifth, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, France carried the torch for western Europe and congratulations to her for doing so. Scandinavian countries are well out of the medal reckoning these days.

Sixth, turning now to Asia – China apart – had a disappointing Games, with only Mongolia picking up a bronze. What is happening to deny the once very successful teams from South Korea, Japan and Thailand? Will Japan be a major force in Tokyo in 2020, one could expect them to be among the medals then, perhaps China too as surely it will not want to be outshone by its neighbour.

Seventh, the once east European powerhouse for medals, here I mean; the likes of Bulgaria, Hungary Poland and Romania, appear to be confined to ring history as well as the once successful Italians and Germans. It seems unlikely that any major resurgence will come forth from these countries in the near future, if indeed ever. They may well have had their day and also their say on the Olympic stage.

The times are changing somewhat, although the Cuban production line is still in fine working order and so successful at that. Russia itself is languishing somewhat, but its former old Soviet Union strongholds such as the independent states now such as Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan continue to flex their ring muscles and are establishing themselves as contenders in their own right; although the Ukraine seems to have gone off the boil at present. It is pleasing to see these countries having success in the Olympic ring and they will be hard to derail now that they are establishing themselves in world class competition, they will be hard to stop in the short term.

Perhaps as far as western Europe is concerned, the tough qualification process is hindering their eventual Olympic results, but overall it is probably more of a case that the ‘new’ contestants are getting better all the time and setting the bar a little bit too high for some of their more established counterparts. It is good for our sport to have change and it will be interesting to see in four years time what the medallists will be like and where they will hail from.

November 24, 2016
November 24, 2016
Natasha Gale

Action Images

Feedspot followFeedly follow

NATASHA GALE has defeated Maily Nicar of France on Wednesday (23 November 2016) to win the EUBC Women’s European Boxing Championships in Sofia.

Boxing in the England vest, the 28-year-old from Leeds secured a unanimous victory to become European Champion in her first appearance at a major championship.

It emulated the achievement of Nicola Adams who is the only other women from Great Britain to win the European Boxing Championship, having won the title in Rotterdam in 2011.

Gale said: “It has been a fantastic experience here with the team.  I have enjoyed it so much and to win the gold is just amazing.  It makes all of the hard work and sacrifice worth it.

“To be European Champion this early in my career is incredible; I am still learning and am so excited for what is still to come.”

Gale’s gold capped a very successful tournament for GB Boxing which saw three of its four boxers return home with a medal.

All three came in the Olympic weight classes as Lisa Whiteside and Sandy Ryan took bronze at flyweight and lightweight respectively to go with Gale’s gold.

It means in the Rio Olympic cycle, women from the GB Boxing squad have won 11 medals at 6 major international tournaments, including the Olympic Games.

GB Boxing’s Performance Director, Rob McCracken said: “Natasha has done brilliantly and to win the European Championship in her first major tournament is a great achievement.  She listened to the coaches and stuck to the tactics and has got her reward.

“Winning three medals is a very good performance by the whole and team and augurs well for the future of the world class performance programme as we head into the Tokyo cycle.  To win a medal in each of the Olympic weight classes, when we have not brought any of our Rio boxers to this tournament, is a superb achievement and a sign of the strength in depth we are developing in the women’s boxing programme.”

August 22, 2016
August 22, 2016
Joseph Joyce

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Feedspot followFeedly follow

THE Olympic boxing tournament ended bitterly for British super-heavyweight Joe Joyce. He pressed France’s defensively-minded Tony Yoka, clattering hooks round his guard and powering the odd heavy cross through. Tony did tuck up tightly and pop out of his shell to land single jabs or right hands. It seemed that Joyce landed the greater weight of blows but by the last round was forced to chase the contest. The decision was split, but went to the Frenchman.

Joyce, understandably deflated, was adamant the victory should have been his. “I was working him to the body, working him to the head. I thought I was penetrating his guard. Maybe towards the end of a round he would nick a few shots but the majority of the work was done by me, working to the head and body,” Joe said. “I’d prefer to be the Olympic champion. I thought it was close [between them] at the World championships [in 2015]. I wasn’t as fit that time and I thought this time I was ready to put more than 100 per cent in but I didn’t come away with the gold medal.

“I thought I was landing a lot of shots at long range and then I was going in in close and hitting him with shots too. I thought I won the rounds, I will have to watch it back and that will give me a clearer opinion but I thought I did enough to win the gold medal.

“I thought I took it to him and I thought I would be coming back over the moon. People remember a gold medallist a lot more. We have beaten our target, we have beaten London, so in that respect it has been a great Games [for Team GB].”

For the latest betting odds on the boxing click HERE

August 21, 2016
August 21, 2016
Robeisy Ramirez

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Feedspot followFeedly follow

CUBAN star Robeisy Ramirez is only 22 years old. He’s now a two-time, two-weight Olympic gold medallist. In a thrilling bantamweight final Ramirez made sure of victory against quality young American Shakur Stevenson, using speed and aggression in the first and third rounds to claim a split decision win.

“He was tough like any boxer who comes here. He’s very good, he’s young and he is a big hope of the future for the sport. It was a little hard to fight against him but no one here goes into their fights unprepared. I just kept trying to do my best so that the judges would see my work and think that I deserved the win. I’m glad I got the result we wanted which was the gold medal,” Ramirez said.

“I’m very excited about having this gold medal. I kept thinking about all the people that supported me to get here, my family, my wife, my friends and they supported me not only through the good moments but through the bad. Since London, as those who have been following my career know, I have been sanctioned by the Cuban federation due to disciplinary problems. So I had to take a year off and that gave me time to mature and to think a lot about what I wanted to do and that is boxing. I’m so happy to get this medal as during the last four years there have been not such good moments, not only personally but in the sport so this medal is not only mine but it’s also that of all the people that supported me to this stage.”

Cuba secured another gold medal on Saturday at Riocentro, Pavillion Six when middleweight Arlen Lopez tamed the aggressive, if wild, Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan. “He went out to execute his plan, and I went out to destroy this plan. That is what I did and I won the fight,” Lopez said casually. “There were a few moments where I was getting signs that made me feel like I had it in my hand. I was convinced I was winning and my excitement kept growing.

“I had to finish the last round at 100%. It’s the last round, you have to give it your all.”

He added, “We Cubans are prepared for anything. We only need to fight.”

For the latest betting odds on the boxing click HERE

August 21, 2016
August 21, 2016
Nicola Adams

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Feedspot followFeedly follow

NICOLA ADAMS is once again an Olympic gold medallist, Britain’s first two-time Olympic champion since Harry Mallin in 1924, and the first female boxer to win two Olympic golds.

France’s Sarah Ourahmoune proved a game challenger in the final on Saturday at Riocentro, pressing forward and trying to snag Adams with her straight punches. But she didn’t shake Nicola’s control of the contest, the Briton won 39-37 for all three judges.

“I just focus like it’s another fight. I take everything in my stride and most importantly try to have fun,” Nicola smiled afterwards. “I felt like I’d done enough to win, definitely. I felt I was winning the rounds quite comfortably and scoring the cleaner shots.

“Every time you beat someone you’re crushing their dreams. So it’s a tough old process.”

She’s not only won the Olympics twice. She’s won every other amateur accolade going: the World championships, Europeans, Commonwealths and more.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Adams said. “I’m now the most accomplished amateur boxer that Britain has ever had. It’s a nice title to have. It’s been an amazing journey.”

For the latest betting odds on the boxing click HERE

August 13, 2016
August 13, 2016
GB Boxing

Action Images/Peter Cziborra

Feedspot followFeedly follow

IT’S been a baptism of fire for the GB boxing team at the Olympic Games. The draw was the stuff of nightmares for the Brits. Galal Yafai went in with the reigning Cuban World champion (and lost a close one), Josh Kelly went in with a World gold and silver medallist (and put in a very game but losing performance), Antony Fowler had a 2013 World champion, hurtful puncher Zhanibek Alimkhanuly, Lawrence Okolie met the masterful Erislandy Savon, but was competitive despite the gulf in experience between the two. Inside the first six days of the boxing competition Britain saw six boxers eliminated.

The draw is hardly something GB can control but it has been unfortunate. There have been under-performances, Qais Ashfaq and Joe Cordina lost what appeared to be winnable fights, against Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee and Uzbekistan’s Hurshid Tojibaev. There have also been highlights, Pat McCormack’s win over his Kazakh opposite number and Joshua Buatsi knocking out Uzbekistan’s Elshod Rasulov, a three-time World medallist and the third seed in this tournament.

“It’s been tough,” GB performance director Rob McCracken reflected. “I think the boxers on the whole have done tremendously well. I think they really stepped up. You look at McCormack, you look at Buatsi and Kelly gave it a right go against the World gold and silver medallist.

“Overall it’s okay, the mood’s okay. It’s an individual sport, I touched on that yesterday in the meeting. I think we saw that from Buatsi, McCormack and Kelly, they really went for it.”

“They’ll support each other and they’re rooting for each other,” he added but notes, “It’s about your career and about the sacrifices you’ve made over the last few years, go make it pay. We had that chat yesterday morning.”

Nor was he too harsh on Joe and Qais. “In fairness, Cordina’s opponent’s the APB number one, a 28, 30 year old man, I think he’s lost about six bouts in about a million so top class, extremely tough opposition. And Qais Ashfaq’s opponent, the Thai, hugely experienced. It’s how you get the performance on the day. I’m sure they felt on another day they could have boxed better. It just didn’t quite happen for either of them on the day,” Rob said. “It just didn’t happen for them, they just didn’t get going.”

There will be intense pressure on the remaining boxers, with no room for error, but McCormack, Buatsi, Nicola Adams, Muhammad Ali, Joe Joyce and Savannah Marshall are all contenders.

There also reason to be positive about GB prospects at the next Olympic Games in 2020. Young boxers have been developing with impressive speed already, with successful Youth squads in place now in a way they weren’t in the last cycle. A more established team for 2020 may even see them accumulate a greater standing, and more ranking points, over the next cycle and so perhaps avoid getting such a harsh draw.

“Brazil’s always been the challenge, we lost all of the men after London, all of the men moved on,” McCracken said. “Tokyo will be a great squad, you have strength and depth already appearing with the younger kids, the Luke McCormacks, the Pete McGrails, the Calum Frenches, the Galal Yafais, there’s lots and lots of good kids, Frazer Clarkes, you can go up and down the weights. I think there’s better strength in depth than we had left after London. I think in two years, three years, compared to this cycle and this group, you’ll have more experienced boxers in.

“Tokyo at this stage looks a real good opportunity for GB Boxing. I think Brazil was always going to be a tough task but we have boxers capable of winning medals in the team, they’re still in the tournament and they can win medals.”

For the latest betting odds on the boxing click HERE