DAY SIX – AUGUST 2

HOW does Anthony Ogogo do the things that he does? Ievgen Khytrov bore down on him, the World champion looking ominous as he pumped out strikes with robotic power.

The Ukrainian’s piston-punching worked round the GB middleweight’s guard but Anthony stayed clever, taking the edge off some of Khytrov’s shots, moving off him and finding openings for blows of his own. Ievgen steamed forward, giving Ogogo two standing counts in rapid succession in the second round.

Anthony proved his grit, swallowing pain as Khytrov blasted at him and keeping the sense to sneak in his replies. Ogogo had kept in touch on the scoreboard but the wait for the result was even longer than usual, with both standing quietly alongside the referee. The score was 18-18 and on countback they were still locked together 52-52; the judges had to vote for a winner. Referee Jones Kennedy raised Ogogo’s hand and Anthony let out a roar to echo the clamour of the arena around him.

“Very physical, very robust, but I wasn’t hurt at all,” said the Lowestoft man. “People don’t realise I’m quite a determined fighter. I think I surprised people with how robust and how resilient I am and how much stick I can take. There’s no quit in me.”

At the same weight Ireland’s Darren O’Neill succumbed 19-12 to Stefan Hartel. “He’s a very skilful boxer and has a great defence. Very fast, hard to see and to time. He got a good start and did what he needed to do. I’m obviously very disappointed. I have to credit him, he performed well on the day,” said O’Neill. “We’re not finished yet.”

“It was a tough fight. He has power in his fists so I had to be careful all the time,” said the German. “I think I’m not the puncher. They don’t hurt but they make points. The strength of our team is we always have a good defence. That is the basis of the victories.”

Josh Taylor became the first British boxer to be eliminated from the Games, losing at 60 kgs to Domenico Valentino. The Scottish southpaw padded away the former World champion’s shots, doubling his jab to bring in a lovely left hand.

But the highly decorated Italian is an expert. He made it messy for Josh, running in at just the right time, throwing a shot, scoring a point and tying Taylor up. Valentino emerged 15-10 ahead, leaving Josh devastated.

Taylor’s emotional reaction is a sign that he, like the rest of his team had come into this tournament expecting to win. His future is bright and he showed he could match two of the most able competitors in his field. Of course the outstanding lightweight at the Olympics is Vasyl Lomachenko, who eased 15-3 past the Dominican Republic’s Wellington Arias.

American hopes Jose Ramirez and Terrell Gausha fell by the wayside at lightweight and middleweight respectively. Ramirez had a heartening rally in the third round but Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov had tapped out a lead far too big to be overcome. The Uzbek took it 15-11.

Gausha was surprisingly competitive with Vijender Singh, clearly landing the more hurtful blows.

Singh would cover and let accurate shots go in over the top. The Indian did not match Gausha for power but was canny enough after nicking a one-point lead after the first round to keep in touch on the scoreboard, winning 16-15.

Japan’s 75 kgs Ryota Murata pounded out a 21-12 victory over Abdelmalek Rahou. Uzbekistan’s Abbos Atoev also won a quality encounter with Bogdan Juratoni. The Romanian put together fine combinations but to conclude their exchanges Atoev frequently planted his southpaw left through an opening.

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