Boxing: Tommy Stalker's narrow defeat stuns home supporters

 

Tommy Stalker of Great Britain went out of the Olympic light-welterweight tournament at the quarter-final stage last night by just one point in a relentless fight against Mongolia's Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg at the ExCeL Centre, which finally left the crowd silent.

Stalker finished the first round level at 6-6 and was far more aggressive in the second round, but that meant he was open to counters and when the bell finished business he was trailing by a point at 14-13, which looked fair.

In the last round Stalker chased Uranchimeg for most of the 180 seconds and certainly connected with enough clean punches from long and short range to do enough to reverse the single-point deficit. However, he had to get close before letting his punches flow and that meant he was open again.

The anxious wait at the end, which seemed to take slightly longer than normal, was tense and then the decision to bout No 234 was announced and with that Stalker's Olympics came to an end. After the 23-22 verdict he immediately left the ring, dashed through the mixed zone and was inconsolable as he reached the changing area.

The defeat means that British boxers will win a guaranteed five medals, which is the best haul since Melbourne in 1956, where they won two golds, one silver and two bronze medals.

Since that memorable Games British boxers have failed to win a single medal on two occasions and a single medal at no fewer than eight Olympics. Now Nicola Adams gets a minimum of a silver and the four remaining men will win bronzes if they lose in the semi-finals tomorrow.

"It's not about losing from this point on," said Robert McCracken the GB performance director.

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