Boxing: Anthony Joshua wins Team GB's 29th gold medal of London 2012 with super-heavyweight victory
Sunday 12 August 2012
Anthony Joshua rounded off Great Britain's most successful boxing
performance at an Olympic Games for over 100 years in dramatic fashion
as he made up a three-point deficit in the final round to claim
super-heavyweight gold on countback.
Amid extraordinary scenes at ExCeL, Joshua blazed out for the final round against Italy's reigning champion Roberto Cammarelle, and after the pair had exchanged bombs for three minutes, the decision for Joshua - after an 18-18 draw - brought the house down.
Even then the drama was not over as the furious Italian team launched an appeal, and Joshua and the audience had to endure over 20 minutes of waiting before the announcement that the initial result would stand brought a rousing cheer.
Joshua told BBC1: "There are no easy fights in these Olympics and I've pulled it out of the bag."
He added: "That medal represents my journey and the support from the team. It's much more than just a gold medal, it's a life experience and I'm just proud to have it round my neck."
He also paid tribute to his fellow boxers in Team GB, saying: "It's not just me, it's my fallen soldiers and the ones that made it and we all drag each other along. Team GB, it comes to the 10 of us, three girls and seven boys."
Britain finished top of the boxing standings, with three gold medals, a silver and a bronze.
Joshua had started his contest looking entirely undaunted by the reputation of the man in the opposite corner, and that was no surprise having beaten Cammarelle in their only previous meeting in the quarter-finals of last year's World Championships.
Still a relative novice in super-heavyweight terms, Joshua had improved enormously in his every bout at the Olympics, and the left jab with which he dominated Ivan Dychko in the semi-final was once again in evidence here.
But if Joshua controlled the majority of the opener, he entered dangerous territory in the last 30 seconds when he was caught in the Italian's corner and clattered by four consecutive right hands by Cammarelle.
Chastened by the experience, Joshua started the second in more cautious fashion, allowing the bulkier Cammarelle to dictate the pace of the contest and once again land the cleaner shots in the final moments of the round to extend his lead to three points.
It was no surprise that both men went at it in the last, Joshua suddenly finding more success with big rights, one of which clearly rocked his opponent, and the crowd roared him through the final few seconds before the drama unfolded.
Fred Evans' extraordinary journey through the welterweight tournament ended with the solace of a silver medal after a comprehensive 17-9 final defeat to Kazakhstan's accomplished Serik Sapiyev.
Sapiyev, a former two-time world champion, was simply too classy for Evans, who was unable to find a way through his opponent's flitting jabs to land his shots and fortunate to be only five points down at the halfway stage.
Evans' hard road to the final, which also included an enthralling single-point semi-final win over Ukraine's world champion and world number one Taras Shelestyuk, caught up with him as the Kazakh skated away to win.
Evans said: "I've had four hard fights and I've got no excuses. He was sharper on the day and I didn't stick to my plan quite as I should have.
"I beat the Ukrainian world champion, the number one in the world. Obviously I'm still young, I'm only 21 - I'm one of the youngest seniors here - so I've done well and I'm over the moon with getting to the final."
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