Cuban dances into final and more home cheer for Brits
Cuban teenager Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana dazzled once again on Friday to reach the flyweight final at the London Games and set up a gold medal clash with world champion slayer Tugstsogt Nyambayar of Mongolia.
The silky southpaw, ranked 34 by world governing body AIBA, danced and smiled his way through his semi-final bout at the ExCel arena, the 18-year-old toying with Ireland’s Michael Conlan before recording a 20-10 victory which could have been more.
The Cuban opted to cover up in the first two minutes of the bout against the eager Conlan, who rained down blows which Carrazana fended off with his gloves before unleashing punches from all angles to leave the Irishman guessing.
Carrazana’s performances across the week in London have been a highlight and he will start as favourite for gold on Sunday when he takes on Nyambayar and the expectation from back home as he tries to win Cuba’s first boxing title since the 2004 Athens Games.
“We know the Olympics are the biggest show on earth when it comes to sporting events but when you’re in the ring everything is the same, you could be anywhere,” Carrazana told reporters, attempting to play down the pressure
The Cuban showman is likely to face a sterner test in the final against Nyambayar, who easily swatted aside Russian world champion Misha Aloian 15-11 in the first of 10 bouts in Friday’s evening session.
The 20-year-old student proved too quick for a lethargic Aloian, the top seed, and routinely landed strong jabs and big right hands through the Russian’s lazy defence.
Nyambayar is part of a quartet of Mongolian fighters that have impressed in London with their aggressive style, but the last one standing will aim for his country’s first gold of the Games when he takes on Carrazana.
“The Mongolian people have a great history and I will be really proud to get a medal for Mongolia,” he told reporters.
”The population of Mongolia is not that big, it’s only 2,8 million people and despite this, we are extremely proud of our history. It will be a great honour to get the medal.”
While Carrazana aimed to please, his compatriot, Yasnier Toledo Lopez, opted for survival tactics but was beaten by classy Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko 14-11 in their lightweight semi-final.
The 24-year-old Beijing featherweight gold medallist has proved a class above in the heavier 60 kg category and after handing Lopez a small Ukrainian flag, his custom before bouts, he set apart picking holes in the Cuban’s defence.
Fearful of Lomachenko’s speed, Lopez kept his gloves high throughout the bout but the Ukrainian patiently punched holes to claim a narrow but deserved win.
“It was a really tough fight. But I must say he punched me a lot with his forearm, and I don’t think that’s good for the judges,” Lopez bemoaned.
British fans still basking in the success of Nicola Adams, who won the first women’s Olympic boxing title on Thursday
, had more to cheer when welterweight Freddie Evans and super heavyweight Anthony Joshua won through to gold medal bouts.
Joshua left Kazak Ivan Dychko with a bloody nose as he came through 13-11 while Evans edged an even closer encounter 11-10 with top seeded Taras Shelestyuk of Ukraine.
Welshman Evans, the world number two behind Shelestyuk, was quicker to the punch in the opening round to open up a three point lead only to tire in the latter stages as the Ukrainian took control of a bout he felt he won.
“Everyone saw the third round but the judges gave only a two-point advantage to me, Shelestyuk told reporters. “Home fighters always have an easier fight because of home advantage.”
Inevitably, as it has done throughout the tournament, scoring was an issue with a number of losing fighters, unhappy with the judges and only bronze medals.
Super heavyweight Magomedrasul Medzhidov of Azerbaijan gave a thumbs down signal as he left the ring following his narrow loss to Italian Roberto Cammarelle, while Lithuanian lightweight Evaldas Petrauskas was perplexed by the surprisingly large margin of defeat in his 18-13 loss to South Korean Han Soon-chul.
As the cacophony of criticism towards those officiating continued in the ring, the judges were facing distraction outside it with LOCOG, on the recommendation of organisers AIBA, asking American broadcaster NBC to move away from their ringside commentary position as they were disturbing the officials.