London 2012 Olympic Boxing Notebook: Boxers to Look Out For
By: William Holmes
The Olympics are here, and when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. leave the sport it is probable that one of the participants from Team USA will take over their mantle as a superstar in boxing.
This event showcases the best amateurs the sport has to offer on a world stage for all to see every four years. Some boxers do well in the Olympics to only sizzle in their professional careers. However, many who succeed in the Olympics also turn out to have thriving professional careers.
The bouts start on Saturday, July 28th at 8:25 A.M. and will be broadcast in the US on the NBC family of channels.
US Military Aiding Team USA
Jamel Herring will not be the only person from the United State military to be a member of the Team USA boxing team. Staff Sargeant Charles Leverette will act as an assistant boxing coach for Team USA and Staff Sergeant Joe Guzman will be traveling to London as a trainer for the team.
Ricky Burns Backs Taylor for Gold
Two-time world champion Ricky Burns is backing Scottish amateur lightweight Josh Taylor to strike gold in London. Taylor aims to win Scotland’s first Olympic boxing gold medal since Dick McTaggart did 56 years ago. Taylor is also Scotland’s sole representative in the Team Great Britain squad.
Ricky Burns said the following about Josh Taylor:
“I’ll be giving Josh my full support in the biggest challenge of his life so far in the Olympics,” Said Burns.
“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved so far in my career in winning two world titles at two weights and there’s plenty more to come, but I turned pro when I was still young and there will always be that feeling that I missed out on the Olympics and the chance to win a gold medal and stand on the podium,”
“Josh is living the dream and I hope he does really well and comes back with the gold for Scotland, that would be amazing for Scottish sport to have the gold medalist and the world champion,”
“The lightweight division looks pretty tough with Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko who’s the top man out there, plus there’s the Italian Domenico Valentino and America’s Jose Ramirez, but Josh has got plenty of experience behind him now and he could be the surprise of the games. He’s just got to stay focused and do the business.”
Irish Amateur Boxing Association Update
Irish team captain Darren O’Neill believes that performance will be the key to success at the 2012 Olympic games. O’Neill, Paddy Barnes, a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, 23-year-old John Joe Nevin, who was the youngest member of the Irish 2008 Olympic squad, Katie Taylor, Adam Nolan and Michael Conlan will represent Ireland in the boxing event at the 30th Olympiad.
“All of the squad are capable of winning medals if we perform to the best of our abilities. We’re capable of beating anyone, but they’re capable of beating us also, so it is crucial that we perform to our best, said O’Neill, a silver medal winner at the 2010 European Championships in Moscow.
“A bit of luck with the draw would also be welcome in London, but that’s outside our control. However, we can control our own performances. If we do that the rest will follow.”
Muhammad Ali is in London for the Olympics
Muhammad Ali is in London for the 2012 Olympic Summer games, 52 years after he won his own gold medal. TMZ is also reporting that Ali will have a role in the opening ceremonies on Friday, but it is still unconfirmed as to what his role will be. Read more here: http://www.tmz.com/2012/07/25/muhammad-ali-london-olympics-photo/
Everlast Unveils 2012 Team USA Boxing Apparel and Footwear
Everlast is the exclusive partner of the USA Olympic Boxing team, and they have unveiled the official team competition apparel and footwear for the 2012 London Olympic games.
Everlast will provide each member of the USA Olympic Boxing Team with a special Olympic competition outfit (consisting of a tank top and boxing shorts), competition footwear, personalized walk-out robe and warm-up jumpsuit. Each member of the coaching staff will wear the USA branded warm-up suit as well.
“The foundation of each successful boxing champion begins to take shape at the amateur level.” said Matt Cowan, Executive VP, Sales, Marketing & Product Development for Everlast. “It is our mission at Everlast to show support to these young athletes and assist them from the early stages of their amateur careers through their proudest moments as Olympians. We are very proud of the 12 young men and women representing our country in these games and are confident that they will be up to the task ahead of them.”
Uniforms can be seen at www.everlast.com
AIBA Executive Committee Awards Upcoming AIBA Junior, Youth, and Women’s World Boxing Championships
The AIBA Executive Committee awarded the 2012 AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships to Kiev (Ukraine), the 2014 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships to Sofia (Bulgaria) and the 2014 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships to Canada.
Korean Air Sponsors the AIBA Road to London Program
The International Boxing Association announced that they had signed a sponsorship agreement with Korean Air which supports the Road to London Program that was being held in Cardiff. The Road to London Program invited both men and women boxers from underprivileged countries for a three-week training camp in preparation for their participation in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Boxers To Look Out For In the Olympics
Men Flyweight (52kg)
2008 Olympic Title holder: Somjit Jongjohor (THA)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Misha Aloian (RUS)
The 2008 Olympic Flyweight champion will not be competing in the Olympics but the 2011 AIBA World Champion will be competing in the Olympics and will be the favorite. Andrew Selby, American Raushee Warren, and France’s Nordine Oubaali are other boxers to look out for who can go all the way. Young Uzbek Jasurbek Latipov has been rapidly improving and has an outside shot at winning gold.
Men Lightweight (60kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Alexey Tishchenko (RUS)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR)
2011 World Champion Vasyl Lomachenko is considered by many to be the best Olympic pound for pound boxer, and he won the featherweight gold in 2008. He won the Val Barker Trophy in Beijing, which is awarded to the best boxer in the whole tournament. He is a two time AIBA World Champion. Cuba’s Yasnier Toledo Lopez, Italy’s 2009 AIBA World Champion Domenico Valentino, and Brazilian Robson Conceicao are also fighters that have a good chance at medaling on Saturday.
Men Light Welterweight (64kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Felix Diaz (DOM)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Everton Dos Santos Lopes (BRA)
Everton Dos Santos Lopez was the first ever Brazilian to claim a boxing gold medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships. His southpaw style will make it very difficult for any of his opponents to beat. Denys Berinchyk from the Ukraine is another boxer to look out for as well as former Bronze medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo. Hometown fighter Thomas Lee Stalker from Great Britain is another boxing talent that has a good chance to medal, especially with the crowd cheering him on. Kazak Daniyar Yeleussinov, Puerto Rican Francisco Vargas Ramirez, and Sweden’s Anthony Yigit are also boxers to look out for.
Men Welterweight (69kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Kakhyt Sarekbayev (KAZ)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Taras Shelestyuk (UKR)
Taras Shelestyuk is the clear favorite to win the gold medal in the welterweight division. He is one of the best boxers on the Ukrainian team that many consider to have the best boxing team in the Olympics. Former Olympic bronze medalist Alexis Vastine will also be competing. Germany’s Patrick Wojcicki, European Champion Reddie Evans, and Lithuanian Egidijus are also boxers to look out for. Brazilian Myke Ribeiro De Carvalho and Kazakhastanian Serik Sapiyev are also fighters who have an outside chance at winning a medal.
Men Middleweight (75kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: James DeGale (GBR)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Ievgen Khytrov (UKR)
The 2011 AIBA World Champion is the clear favorite to win the gold medal in 2012. Japanese boxer Ryota Murata should give Khytrov a run in the tournament, as well as Irishman Darren O’Neill who also happens to be the captain of the Irish Boxing Team. 2009 AIBA World Champion Abbos Atoev will be making his last attempt at Olympic Gold, and Indian boxer Vijender has an outside chance at winning the gold medal.
Men Light Heavyweight (81kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Zhang Ziaoping (CHN)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Julio la Cruz Peraza (CUB)
Cuban standout Julio la Cruz Peraza is another Cuban amateur star who is expected to shine in the Olympics and has the power to score a knockout or two in the Olympics. Adilbek Niyazymbetov from Kazakhstan will be Peraza’s toughest opponent and won the silver medal in the 2011 AIBA World Boxing Championships. 2009 AIBA World Champion Egor Mekhontcev and Elshod Rusolv from Uzbekistan are two fighters to look out for, as well as Algerian Abdelhafid Benchabla who won the World Series of Boxing Individual Championship. Australian Damien Hooper and Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino are two dark horses. Marcus Browne from the United States also has been turning some heads in the light heavyweight division.
Men Heavyweight (91kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Rakhim Chakhiev (RUS)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Oleksandr Usyk (UKR)
The heavyweight division is likely to be dominated by the Ukranian World Champion Oleksandr Usyk. Azerbaijan Teymur Mammadov will be his main challenger. Belarusian Siarhei Karneyeu and Tervel Pulev of Bulgaria are two other boxers to look out for since they are both known for their aggressive styles. Algerian Chouaib Bouloudinats,Russia’s Artur Beterbiev, and Cuban boxer Jose Angel Larduet Gomez are other fighters who have a chance to medal. Michael S. Hunter II of the United States is a long shot, but his father is a former professional boxer so he certainly has the pedigree to medal.
Men Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
2008 Olympic Title Holder: Roberto Cammarelle (ITA)
2011 AIBA World Champion: Magomedrasul Medzhidov (AZE)
Some are saying that the Super Heavyweight division is the most talent laden division in the Olympics. Anthony Joshua from Great Britain has a legitimate chance at winning a medal, as well as Cuban boxer Erislandy Savon Cotilla. Cotilla is the nephew of the great Felix Savon who won three Olympic Gold Medals. Former AIBA bronze medalist Ivan Dychko has a lot of potential as well as Russia’s Magomed Omarov. Ecuador Ytalo Antonio Perea Castillo is known for his hand speed and movement, but does not have the physical size as many of the participants in the super heavyweight division.