Boxing: Anthony Joshua and Fred Evans join Luke Campbell in the finals
Three Britons to fight for gold this weekend but Ogogo has to settle for bronze
Saturday 11 August 2012
Anthony Joshua beat Ivan Dychko 13-11 in the super-heavyweight semi-final to make it three British men in this weekend's finals, which has not happened since 1956. Joshua joins Fred Evans at welterweight and Luke Campbell in the finals.
An hour earlier Evans upset the No 1 seed and current world champion Taras Shelestyuk by a tight but right score of 11-10 in the welterweight semi-final to reach Sunday's final, and in the afternoon Campbell reached today's bantamweight final.
For Evans, it was tense from the opening bell with the Welshman managing to float and hit Shelestyuk with perfect counters so often that after two rounds there was a case for Evans to be more than 8-5 in front. Shelestyuk, one of the top Ukrainians, rallied in the last but it was too late and he will be a spectator when Evans fights Kazakhstan's Serik Sapiyev on Sunday.
A few hours earlier, Luke Campbell became the first British man to reach the finals, but just 50 minutes after Campbell, Anthony Ogogo stepped through the ropes to continue his seemingly impossible mission at middleweight.
Ogogo was fighting Brazil's Esquiva Falcao, a man who comfortably beat him last year at the World Championships, in front of a crowd that has so far roared Ogogo's emotional and dramatic passage. It continued yesterday and Ogogo was hurt, dropped twice and thankfully held to clear his head. It was not enough and he lost 16-9, meaning he claimed a bronze medal. It was a hard struggle from the opening bell, with Falcao able to operate at distance, using the edges of the vast ring to stay away from Ogogo and yet still catch him with powerful counter punches. It was tied 3-3 at the end of the first but Falcao took over in the second and hurt Ogogo as the bell sounded; in round three Ogogo tumbled over twice and was clearly heavily shaken and unable to reverse the deficit in points.
"He's a great fighter and he showed it in there, but it is still hard for me because I have beaten better boxers in this Olympics," said Ogogo, who beat the world champion and No 1 seed here, Ievgen Khytrov. "I still have the medal, an Olympic medal and that is something I will have forever."
In his three previous fights, Ogogo has overcome a variety of odds and obstacles, fighting and beating Khytrov and also entering the ring knowing that his mother was in a coma. She is recovering and now her son, who she has spoken to, can go and be by her bed, but he has an appointment back in front of the ExCeL crowd to collect his tonight.
"I think all of the emotional and physical stuff has got to me a bit," added Ogogo, who looked shattered after a draining two weeks. "It is not an excuse but it has been a tough time for me. I have no excuses or regrets [though]."
Campbell started the day as the favourite for his fight against Japan's Satoshi Shimizu and just before he stepped through the ropes his hopes of a gold, if he could win, improved when Ireland's John Joe Nevin pulled off an incredible shock to beat world champion and No 1 seed Lazaro Alvarez. The Cuban looked clueless against Nevin, which was bizarre to witness having sat ringside for two decades marvelling at Cuba's dominance.
"I said before the boxing started I wanted to fight Nevin in the final and that's the fight the public has," said Campbell. "The Japanese fighter was better than I expected but the crowd got behind me and I knew I couldn't lose."
Campbell was never in trouble and piled up the points to finish 20-11 in front at the end; he was also still relatively fresh after three fights in just over a week and that will help against his old rival Nevin. "I beat Nevin at the World Championships last year but it is never easy beating him and that is why it is the dream final," added Campbell. "I'm in the Olympic final, I have to keep saying it because it sounds mad."
After the delight and rapture of Katie Taylor's historic win the night before the Irish team arrived at the ExCeL knowing it would be a difficult day. Nevin's win was a shock but Belfast's light-flyweight Paddy Barnes came close to beating China's Shiming Zou, who has not lost at an Olympics or the last three World Championships, but needed the tricky science of a countback to beat Barnes yesterday. Michael Conlan, at flyweight, lost 20-10 to the brilliant Cuban Robeisy Ramirez.
Boxing clever: Tonight's finals
Light flyweight (49kg), 8.30pm
Shiming Zou (China) v Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thai)
Bantamweight (56kg), 8.45pm
John Joe Nevin (Ire) v Luke Campbell (GB)
Light welterweight (64kg), 9.15pm
Roniel Sotolongo Iglesias (Cuba) v Denys Berinchyk (Ukr)
Middleweight (75kg), 9.45pm
Esquiva Florentino Falcao (Br) v Ryoto Murata (Japan)
Heavyweight (91kg), 10.15pm
Oleksandr Usyk (Ukr) v Clemente Russo (It)
All remaining bouts are in the men's categories and will take place at the ExCeL tomorrow
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