Three GB boxers through to Youth Olympic Games finals

Youth Olympic Games
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Itauma, Price and Dubois are all on the edge of glory at the Youth Olympic Games, writes John Dennen

THREE GB boxers have reached the finals of the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

On Tuesday (October 16), the third day of the boxing tournament, Hopey Price, Caroline Dubois and Karol Itauma were all victorious.

Flyweight Price unanimously outpointed Ireland’s Dean Clancy in the semi-final. He will box for gold, against Thailand’s Sarawut Sukthet later on today. “That was a lot better than yesterday [quarter-final win],” Price said. “I beat him [Clancy] in the European finals so he’s a good boxer but I listened to my corner and adapted and thank god it all paid off.

“One of my best assets in boxing is my footwork so I just tried to get my feet going and flowing. Yesterday I was a bit stiff but today was a lot sharper and I didn’t get hit as much – I was much quicker and too elusive for him.

“It’s good to win and secure that Youth Olympic medal but for me my mindset at the start was to come here and win gold.”

Itauma, a light-heavyweight, beat Egypt’s Youssef Ali Kara Ali Moussa. Itauma took control of the bout from the start, landing clean, powerful punches to make sure of a unanimous decision.

Dubois took on host nation boxer Oriana Saputo. The Londoner put in a clinical performance, winning every round as she took a unanimous decision. Caroline is now undefeated in 34 contests. “I feel really good after that. I’m excited to get to a final and to get to perform in front of all these people. It’s been amazing here and I’m enjoying every second. I’ve never boxed in an atmosphere like that before and I pray that I get the chance to do it again on a level like this,” Dubois said. “I paced myself well. I knew this girl was going to come forward and come forward, that’s what she does in all her fights. Credit to her but I had an amazing game plan to fight her and I did what I needed to do.

Light-welterweight Hassan Azim was beaten by Russia’s Llia Popov, losing a split decision to the number one seed. Azim is not out of the competition entirely yet. He will box off for the bronze medal on Thursday against Morocco’s Mohammed Boulaouja.

The finals also take place on Thursday, featuring Itauma against Russia’s Ruslan Kolesnikov at 81kgs. “I’ve boxed him [Ruslan Kolesnikov, Itauma’s gold medal opponent] before in the European final,” Itauma said. “He’s tough, he’s experienced – the world champion, and I know it’s not going to be an easy fight. Since we met in the Europeans, I’ve improved. I’ve got stronger and I’m a lot smarter and I think that’s going to help me a lot.”

Dubois’ final will be against Thailand’s Porntip Buapa at 60kgs “I’ve never fought her [Buapa] before,” she said, “she lost in the semi-finals of the Worlds when I fought the winner but I’m just excited to get out there.”

Ireland’s featherweight Dearbhla Rooney lost a split decision to Thailand’s  Panpatchara Somnuek. “I’ll have a look at the score after, but I don’t know, to be honest I’ll have to look over it. I’m just very disappointed now. I met her in the worlds – she beat me in the prelim by a split decision, I’ll have to look over it now to see where it all went wrong,” Rooney said. “I’m not used to boxing boxers with a style like that. My style is usually the more aggressive one, pushing them back, whereas she has a very aggressive style of boxing herself, pulling forward all the time. I thought I did enough with hooks and jabbing.”

She will join Dean Clancy in the bronze medal box offs. Clancy will box Brazil’s Luiz de Olivera on Thursday, while Rooney will take on New Zealand’s Te Edmonds.

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