Batyrgaziev is a champion at the Tokyo Olympic Games where Harrington, Yafai and Khyzhniak are finalists06 August 2021
The boxing tournament of the Tokyo Olympic Games is in the semi-finals and final phase and its twelfth competition day delivered a gold medal for the European continent. Russian Olympic Committee’s Albert Batyrgaziev won the title of the men’s featherweight (57kg) following his third success by split decision. Ireland’s Kellie Harrington, Great Britain’s Galal Yafai and Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak advanced to the finals today.
Altogether 24 European nations could send boxers to the Olympic Games to Japan where the continent have got 92 tough boxers including 33 women. Among them 19 earned medals after nine competition days and four new boxers joined to them. Russia, Great Britain, Turkey, Ukraine, Ireland, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Italy, Netherlands, Finland and Armenia claimed at least one medal in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The bout of the day
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington arrived to the Tokyo Olympic Games in top form and she was seeded as No.1. She met in the semi-finals of the women’s lightweight (60kg) with Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee which was the repeat contest of the final of the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. In the battle of the southpaw boxers, Harrington started better while Seesondee also responded to these actions. Seesondee landed better punches in the second round therefore Harrington had to give in everything to win their contest. Their contest was one of the closest battles of this weight class but Harrington could win this difficult semi-final in Tokyo.
The surprise of the day
Russian Olympic Committee’s Gleb Bakshi is the defending AIBA World Champion at the men’s middleweight (75kg) who had to meet with Brazil’s Hebert Wilian Carvalho da Conceicao Sousa. The Russian boxer tried to rule the middle of the ring and moved ahead but the Brazilian counter-attacks were dangerous in the first round of their semi-final. Bakshi worked a lot in the first round but Sousa was a hard target in the first but the Russian started the second in different rhythm. The Brazilian, who claimed bronze in the last AIBA World Boxing Championships, controlled most of the exchanges of the second part of the middle period and he had an advantage after six minutes. The Russian did not find the best fighting distance against the counter-attacking Brazilian and achieved bronze medal in Tokyo.
Finland’s Mira Potkonen surely claimed her second Olympic medal after Rio de Janeiro but she was still hungry for the further success. The 41-year-old Finnish boxer faced with Brazil’s 2019 AIBA Women’s World Champion Beatriz Ferreira in the semi-final of the lightweight (60kg). Potkonen started the bout in impressive rhythm but Ferreira adopted the level of their semi-final quickly. Finland’s pride competed in her last competition, and she was never stopped attacking, but the Brazilian was better today and landed successful punches therefore Potkonen claimed bronze medal. Their semi-final was so emotional for Mira Potkonen who spent 15 years in the sport and finished it with her second Olympic bronze medal. Harrington will be meeting for the Olympic title with her main rival, the defending AIBA Women’s World Champion Beatriz Ferreira.
Great Britain’s Galal Yafai had experiences from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games which paid off in Tokyo. The 29-year-old British boxer had to face with Kazakhstan’s Saken Bibossynov in the semi-final of the flyweight (52kg) which category delivered tough sensations in Tokyo. Yafai opened their semi-final in better rhythm and caught his Kazakh rival with an impressive combination therefore the referee counted Bibossynov. The Kazakh ringside changed the tactical elements and Bibossynov stepped into the gas in the second landing more punches. Yafai had tight advantage after the second round therefore both boxers produced amazing performance in the third round. Yafai had good shots against the busy Kazakh boxer and won the next tight contest of Day12 advancing to the final where he will be meeting with Philippines’ Carlo Paalam.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak is AIBA World Champion, European Games winner and EUBC European Champion at the men’s middleweight (75kg) and did not lose any bouts since 2016. The Ukrainian star faced with Philippines’ Eumir Felix Marcial who claimed silver at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships. The Ukrainian moved ahead from the first seconds and tried to dictate the tempo of their semi-final. Marcial is also a strong fighter who responded to the Ukrainian attacks as many times as it was possible. Khyzhniak used infighting style mostly in the second round and he worked hard until the last gong as in all of his previous contests. Their contest was a brilliant fight in outstanding rhythm and Khyzhniak has done enough to advance to the final.
Russian Olympic Committee’s next boxer, Albert Batyrgaziev survived his dangerous moments in the quarter-finals and in the semi-finals against Mongolia’s Erdenebat Tsendbaatar and Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez. He has done almost impossible comebacks in these contests therefore he began the featherweight (57kg) final in faster rhythm against United States’ Duke Ragan who achieved silver at the Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships. Batyrgaziev worked in different rhythm than his US opponent who looked patient and waited for the best counter-attacking moments. The Russian boxer moved forward more in comparison to his previous fights and landed more punches. Ragan had strong counter-punches but Batyrgaziev worked enough to win their tough final achieving the first gold medal for the Russians.