Posted August 11, 2012 on AP on Fox
Luke Campbell and John Joe Nevin scrapped through 21/2 remarkably even rounds, their British and Irish fans getting more uneasy with every blow. And then Nevin walked into a big right hand from his British opponent. Nevin ended up on his back. Campbell ended up with a gold medal, largely on the strength of that one spectacular punch. The British bantamweight fought back tears in the ring after the final verdict made him an Olympic champion. Campbell beat his rival 14-11 Saturday night, securing Britain's first gold in his weight division since 1908. "I won. Can't believe it," Campbell said. "That's what was going through my mind. It's a day I've dreamed of for a long, long time." Campbell's solemn, teary rendition of "God Save the Queen" in front of his adoring fans had little in common with the other four gold-medal celebrations at ExCel arena. Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk put on a show that overshadowed even his 14-11 victory over Italy's Clemente Russo. The intimidating 6-foot-3 bruiser with the distinctive haircut broke into an astonishingly nimble Cossack dance in the center of the ring, bouncing and leaping with carefree abandon. And when light flyweight Zou Shiming of China defended his Beijing gold medal with a 13-10 win over Kaeo Pongprayoon, his Thai opponent collapsed on the canvas in fury and pain, eventually leaving the ring in tears. "I feel that I won, and I could see that the crowd thought I won," Pongprayoon said. "I don't know why I lost. I think the points system at the Olympics is wrong or strange." Just another typical day at an Olympic boxing tournament -- and there are still five more gold-medal bouts on Sunday. Light welterweight Roniel Iglesias beat Ukraine's Denys Berinchyk 22-15 for Cuba's first boxing gold in London after failing to win any in Beijing. Middleweight Ryota Murata then narrowly won the second boxing gold medal in Japan's Olympic history, beating Brazil's Esquiva Falcao 14-13 on the strength of a two-point holding penalty against Falcao in the final round. But most of the crowd came to cheer Campbell, the 24-year-old father who locked up Britain's second gold medal at its home Olympics following Nicola Adams' flyweight victory in the women's tournament. Campbell also won the rubber match in his friendly rivalry with Nevin, who beat him soundly in the 2009 world championships before losing to Campbell on a tiebreaker last year. Their Olympic bout was still in doubt when Campbell connected with a punch that will loom large in Britain's boxing history. Campbell had few thoughts as he waited for the eight-count on Nevin. "After that, I just had to carry on what I was doing and not be silly," Campbell said. Nevin, a two-time Olympian, was stone-faced after the decision, but embraced his rival. "I would have given my right arm (even) for a bronze medal before the games, so this is a dream come true for me," Nevin said. "My mother has decided the medal is going to go in her cupboard." Ireland is leaving London with four boxing medals, including Katie Taylor's gold. Usyk put a sharp finish on a division filled with ugly fights in London by overpowering Russo, who equaled the silver medal he took home from Beijing. Russo's hold-filled strategy couldn't contain Usyk, whose hair is in a traditional chub haircut -- a shaved head with a long, flowing lock coming straight off the top. Usyk appeared to knock down Russo with a big left hand early in the 2nd round, but Russo wasn't given an eight-count. Usyk still controlled the bout despite an improved effort from Russo, who embraced him shortly before Usyk broke into his impressive dance moves. Usyk is Ukraine's third boxing gold medalist, joining Wladimir Klitschko and Vasyl Lomachenko, who fights Sunday for his second gold. The Ukrainian team will lead the Olympic field with five boxing medals. But Iglesias stood up to one of the toughest fighters in the London field, picking apart the hard-nosed Berinchyk with a masterful boxing display and denying the other Ukrainian fighter with that distinctive haircut. Iglesias was a silver medalist in 2008, but returned with a stellar run through the 2012 tournament. Cuba's 33 boxing gold medals are second in Olympic history to the U.S. team's 48. Murata joined Zou in getting an enormous benefit from a final-round penalty when he held off Falcao, who didn't appear bothered by the verdict. Murata, a veteran amateur who produced the best results of his career in London with a methodical style of fighting, is the only Japanese man to win gold in boxing since Takao Sakurai won at bantamweight at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Falcao and his brother, Yamaguchi, both fell just short of winning Brazil's first Olympic boxing gold, with Yamaguchi winning a bronze medal as a light heavyweight. Brazil had won just one boxing medal in its entire Olympic history before the Falcao brothers came through in London -- an auspicious start to the four-year process of preparing for the Brazilians' own home Olympics in Rio.

Britain's Campbell edges Nevin for boxing gold

Luke Campbell of Britain won the bantamweight gold medal in the Olympic boxing tournament Saturday night, knocking down John Joe Nevin of Ireland midway through the third round of a 14-11 victory. Campbell thrilled the roaring home crowd before bursting into tears in the ring. Campbell won the rubber match with Nevin, his friendly local rival. Nevin beat Campbell soundly in their...

Britain's Campbell leads 1st night of boxing golds

Bantamweight Luke Campbell won Britain's first Olympic boxing gold medal in his division since 1908, dramatically knocking down rival John Joe Nevin of Ireland midway through the third round of a 14-11 victory Saturday night. Zou Shiming of China defended his light flyweight gold medal from Beijing with a 13-10 victory over Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon, who angrily protested...

Olympic boxing gold medal results: Luke Campbell, Shiming Zou amongst the winners

Zou, Campbell, Iglesias , Murata and Usyk claim Olympic gold medals On day fifteen of competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games, four boxers became Olympic Champions for the very first time whilst one made history by defending his title. The atmosphere at the packed ExCeL arena was once again fantastic for five contest of the very highest quality. Right here, find the full men...

Olympic Men's Boxing Finals Results: Gold For China, Great Britain, Cuba, Japan, Ukraine

Ladies and gentleman, meet your first batch of 2012 Olympic gold medalists in men's boxing: Shiming Zou of China, Luke Campbell of Great Britain, Roniel Iglesias Solotongo of Cuba, Ryota Murata of Japan and Oleksandr Usyk of the Ukraine. Two of the five get to the top of the medal stand a bit controversially, as you might expect of this tawdry event.(Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo...

Olympic boxing semifinals results session 1: Ireland’s John Joe Nevin upsets Lazaro Alvarez & much more

The early results are in from the men's Olympic boxing semifinals morning session at the ExCel Arena in London. In half of the men's divisions, the gold medal match has been decided, and the bronze medals have been awarded. Take a look at the full results for the first session right here, highlighted by a great performance by Ireland's John Joe Nevin, as he upset the...

Zou, Nevin get big wins in Olympic boxing semis

Defending champion Zou Shiming of China narrowly advanced to another gold-medal bout with a tiebreaker victory over Ireland's Paddy Barnes on Friday in the first of 20 semifinal fights in the Olympic boxing tournament. Bantamweight John Joe Nevin of Ireland stunned top-seeded Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba 19-14 to advance to the final against Britain's Luke Campbell, who beat Japan...

Zou, Nevin get big wins in semis

Defending champion Zou Shiming of China narrowly advanced to another gold-medal bout with a tiebreaker victory over Ireland's Paddy Barnes on Friday in the first of 20 semifinal fights in the Olympic boxing tournament. Bantamweight John Joe Nevin of Ireland stunned top-seeded Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba 19-14 to advance to the final against Britain's Luke Campbell, who beat Japan...

Irish, Ukrainian Boxers Win Big: Olympic Men's Boxing Semifinals Part One

Ireland, the Ukraine and the hosts were the big winners in the first session of Olympic men's boxing Semifinals Friday in London. Ukrainian sluggers Oleksandr Usyk and Denys Berinchyk booked their tickets in must-see gold medal bouts while John Joe Nevin continued the Irish fairytale started by Katie Taylor. Nevin will now face Britain's Luke Campbell for a gold medal in...
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