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Olympics: Kazakh boxing golden boy has scar to show for it

18 august 2016, 16:42
0

The fourth Kazakh boxer in a row to win Olympic welterweight gold says a deep cut that will scar him for life will be a satisfying reminder of his Rio exploits, AFP reports.

Daniyar Yeleussinov defeated Uzbekistan's Shakhram Giyasov in a Central Asian showdown that will be all the sweeter for Kazakhstan after Vassiliy Levit was defeated in the heavyweight final on Monday in a highly controversial points decision.

The 25-year-old Yeleussinov would not be drawn on whether he now plans to join his older brother Dauren as a professional in the United States.

But he was more forthcoming about the angry cut above his left eye that he suffered during a clash of heads in his semi-final win over Souleymane Cissokho -- that fight was stopped because the wound was so bad and they went to the scorecards, with the Kazakh ahead on points.

Yeleussinov said he was unconcerned during the gold-medal clash with Giyasov about the cut, but says it will provide a pleasant reminder in future when it heals to leave a scar that could nevertheless open up again in fights.

"It's now glued with strippers but it will probably leave a scar," he said, a sky blueKazakhstan flag draped across his shoulders.

"I will know that I was boxing at the Olympics with this cut."

Yeleussinov, who was among the favourites in Rio at welterweight, also makes a small piece of history in becoming the fourth Kazakh on the bounce to win Olympic gold at 69kg -- the feat has only been done one other time, by Cuba at heavyweight.

Yeleussinov triumphed on unanimous points, with Cissokho from France and the Moroccan Mohammed Rabii each taking home bronze.

The judges got this verdict right -- just what the AIBA, amateur boxing's governing body, needed after at least two deeply controversial judging decisions in as many days.

Kazakhstan's small band of supporters celebrated wildly and Yeleussinov paraded around the arena with the flag on his shoulders.

The first round saw underdog Giyasov the aggressor as he stalked his more decorated foe around the ring, at one point dropping his arms entirely as if going for a walk in the park.

The referee soon got sick of that and told him to keep his arms up as Giyasov, 23, attempted to ruffle the Asian champion with some gamesmanship.

That cut over the eye of Yeleussinov only had two days to mend -- nowhere near enough time -- and it opened up again in the second round and his corner went to work furiously on it before the third and final round.

Giyasov was aiming for that spot but Yeleussinov is a slippery and clever customer and kept largely out of harm's way, as his opponent became increasingly desperate and frustrated.

By Peter STEBBINGS


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