Road To The Olympic Games

Olympics Summer

British boxer Degale wins gold, Cuba falters

James Degale of Great Britain earned the gold medal in the 75-kilogram division with an upset win over Emilio Correa Jr. from Cuba.

James Degale of Great Britain earned the gold medal in the 75-kilogram middleweight boxing division with an upset win over Emilio Correa Jr. from Cuba on Day 15.

Degale, 22, outlasted Correa 16-14 in a sloppy affair that saw both fighters assessed two-point penalties for spending too much time clinging to each other.

The Briton jumped out to an early 6-1 lead after one round and landed just enough punches to stay ahead of Correa the rest of the way.

"It was not that good, but it was strong," Degale told BBC. "I just wanted to win. He was pretending that I was holding on to him … and then he bit me in the first round.

"He was tough, horrible and strong throughout the bout. But I'm Olympic champion, it's unbelievable."

The gold medal finished a surprising run for Degale, who has no real international success, but was able to keep advancing in Beijing as other top middleweight contenders were eliminated by others.

Degale was Great Britain's third boxing gold medallist in the last 40 years. Chris Finnegan won at middleweight in 1968, with super heavyweight Audley Harrison victorious in 2000.

Ireland's Darren John Sutherland and India's Vijender Kumar each received a bronze medal. All semifinal losers in every division automatically earn bronze medals.

The loss denied Correa Jr. his family's second gold medal in boxing. Emilio Correa Sr. captured one of Cuba's first three gold medals in the sport, at the 1972 Munich Games.

Cuba have won 32 Olympic gold medals since 1972, far and away the most of any country, but the losses of Correa and Andris Laffita on Saturday have ensured that the country will come away with no more than two gold medals in Beijing, their worst showing in any Games they've contested since Munich.

Cuba did not participate in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

Cuban bantamweight Yankiel Leon and welterweight Carlos Suarez are part of six boxing gold medal bouts on Sunday.

Thailand's Somjit Jongjohor won the first gold medal contested on Saturday with a convincing win over Laffita in the 51-kilogram division.

Somjit, the 2005 world champion and silver medallist at the 2007 worlds, easily defeated Laffita, the 10th-ranked boxer in the division, 8-2 in his last Olympic Games.

Somjit jumped out to a 6-0 lead through two rounds before Laffita earned single points in each of the final two rounds.

It was a measure of redemption for the Somjit, 33, who lost an early-round bout at the 2004 Athens Games to Cuba's Yuriorkis Gamboa, who went on to win gold before defecting.

Vincenzo Picardi of Italy and Russia's Georgy Balakshin each received a bronze medal in the flyweight division for reaching the semifinals.

Lomachenko cruises to featherweight gold

Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko capped his dominating run through the field in the 57-kilogram division, winning the gold medal after the referee stopped his bout with France's Khedafi Djelkhir in the first round.

It was the latest impressive performance from Lomachenko, the silver medallist at the 2007 worlds, who battered his opponents 58-13 en route to the gold medal.

Lomachenko was aggressive right from the start on Saturday and used repeated head blows to force three standing eight counts before the referee called the bout with nine seconds remaining in the opening round.

Turkey's Yakup Kilic and Shahin Imranov of Azerbaijan each earned a bronze medal.

Dominican Republic wins first boxing gold

Felix Diaz of the Dominican Republic used a big third round to upend reigning Olympic champion Manus Boonjumnong of Thailand in the gold-medal bout for the 64-kilogram division.

Diaz was the aggressor throughout the bout, continuously beating his Thai opponent to the punch, but the score remained tied 2-2 through two rounds.

But in the third, Diaz began to score with rights to the head and a series of body blows that propelled him to a 10-3 lead, and he remained unchallenged the rest of the way.

The win gives the Dominican Republic its first gold medal in Olympic boxing.

Cuba's Rosniel Iglesias and Frenchman Alexis Vastine each earned bronze.

Russian earns revenge in heavyweight final

Russia's Rakhim Chakhkiev earned a measure of revenge with his gold medal win against Italy's Clemente Russo in the heavyweight division.

Chakhkiev, who lost by a point to the Italian at the last year's world championships, bounced back for a 4-2 victory to clinch the Olympic title.

With the bout tied at 2-2 through three rounds, Chakhkiev scored the decisive points in the final round to become the first non-Cuban to win the Olympic heavyweight title since 1988.

He's just the third non-Cuban to win in the division since American George Foreman's victory in 1968.

Chakhkiev's win also saves some face for a Russian program that's had an Olympic experience to forget.

Russia sent an 11-man team to the Games with several members expected to contend. But Chakhkiev and lightweight Alexey Tischenko, who fights Sunday, are the only two boxers to advance to the gold medal bout in their respective divisions.

Cuba's Osmai Acosta and American Deontay Wilder won the bronze medals.

With files from the Associated Press

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