Winning 2 Golds, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze at these Games, including its first two boxing Golds ever, China put in a resounding home field performance and staked its claim to being an international amateur boxing contender. Cuba, who consistently fields a strong boxing team, won the most medals overall, claiming 4 Silvers and 4 Bronzes. Ireland put out its best boxing performance ever, winning a Silver and 2 Bronzes, while India brought back its first ever boxing medal in the form of a Bronze.
The Val Barker Trophy for best boxer at the 2008 Olympic Games went to Featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko of the Ukraine.
China’s heavy favorite Zou Shiming won Gold when Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia retired in the 2nd Round, complaining of a worsening shoulder injury that he developed in a previous bout. It was an anti-climactic win for the talented Chinese fighter. It was China’s first ever boxing Gold in Olympic history.
Badar-Uugan Enkhbat of Mongolia won that country’s first Gold in boxing (and only the second Gold in Mongolian Olympic history) by defeating Yankiel Leon Alarcon of Cuba, 16-5. Enkhbat adds Beijing Gold to Chicago Silver, as he was the #2 man in last year’s World Amateur Championships. Enkhbat came out strong in the 1st, with Leon Alarcon rebounding in the 2nd to pull even in the scoring. Then Enkhbat resumed control and piled on a commanding lead in the 3rd and 4th.
Gold went to Alexey Tischenko of Russia, who won a hard-fought bout with Daouda Sow of France, 11-9. Tischenko established an early lead, but had to struggle hard to retain it as Sow almost overtook him in the 3rd. This is the second Olympic Gold for Tischenko, who fought in the Athens 2004 Games as a Featherweight.
Bakhyt Sarsekbayev of Kazakhstan defeated Carlos Banteaux Suarez of Cuba in a lopsided 18-9 victory, denying Cuba any boxing Gold at the Beijing Games. Cuba, an international amateur boxing powerhouse, entered four men into the finals, more than any other country. With Beanteaux Suarez’s defeat, not one brought home a Gold Medal, the first time this has happened since 1968. The Cuban opened the fight from a defensive, “peek-a-boo” shell and stymied Sarsekbayev. However, in the 2nd, Sarsekbayev figured Banteaux Suarez out, and began to pick up points. By the time the Cuban started to let his hands fly, he was behind and continued to fall as the Kazakh built up his lead.
Ireland’s Kenny Egan was coming out of a stirring victory against cross-isles rival Tony Jefferies going into the finals. It proved to be no match for Zhang Xiaoping’s roaring hometown support, as the Chinaman beat the Irishman 11-7 in a barn burner bout. Zhang won the Gold, building on Shiming’s earlier accomplishment.
This bout was also the second time the Irish boxing team criticized the scoring they received at the Beijing Games. In the semi-finals, Paddy Barnes was clearly defeated by Zou Shiming, but just as cleary not by the monsterous 17-0 shut out that the judges awarded. In this case, if only a few of Egan’s clean punches had been counted, the results of the fight would have been very different.
Italy’s intense, sharp Roberto Cammarelle trounced Zhang Zhilei of China en route to a late stoppage. He racked up the points and was leading by 14-4 when he clocked his Chinese opponent, leading the referee to stop the fight and declare a knockout. The 6’3″ Cammarelle had knocked out his previous opponent, David Price of Great Britain. He is the reigning World Amateur Champion, and adds a 2008 Olympic Gold to his 2004 Bronze.