CUBA have an array of gold medal prospects on their dauntingly gifted team. Two of them overcame bright British hopes at the Olympic Games on Monday (August 8), while a quality Kazakh handed a third defeat to one of the more experienced members of the GB boxing team.
Erislandy Savon, a veteran of London 2012, where he locked horns with Anthony Joshua, has subsequently moved down to 91kgs with menacing effect. After a rocky first round Britain’s Lawrence Okolie matched him gallantly over the remaining two stanzas but he could never quite shift control of affairs from Savon’s grasp, losing unanimously. At 49kgs here was little to divide Galal Yafai from Cuban World champion Joahnys Argilagos, the decision was split, it could have gone either way but it went to the Cuban.
Kazakhstan’s Zhanibek Alimkhanuly towered over GB middleweight Antony Fowler. The Liverpudlian was unintimidated, taking a measured approach in the first round, which, perhaps harshly, was scored by all three judges to Alimkhanuly. That became academic when the Kazakh hurt Antony at the start of the second round and opened up on him, his southpaw left scorching through Fowler’s defence and zeroing painfully in on his chin. Bravely Fowler pressed on but he couldn’t stop a wide decision going, unanimously, to Alimkhanuly.