Olympic Light Flyweights: Veteran Purevdorj Upended By Slicker Laishram


Sersamba Purevdorj of Mongolia, one of the top light flyweights in the world, went down to an upset defeat that ended his Olympic hopes on Saturday.

Purevdorj, one of the more credentialed boxers in the 49 kg-limit weight class, was expected to get by his opponent, Devendro Singh Laishram of India. After all, Laishram, rated #19 by AIBA, was a relative newcomer to the world scene, having first made his mark in the 2011 World Championships, where he made it to the quarterfinals.

Meanwhile, Purevdorj holds a win over defending Olympic gold medalist Shiming Zou of China in the Asian Games, and had won the World Amateur Championships (2009) and Asian Championships (2007), not to mention winning a silver in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, where he had to pull out of the finals against Zou with a shoulder injury.

So with all of this, and #4 seed to boot, which allowed him to skip the first round with a bye, Purevdorj was expected to use experience to his advantage. That didn’t work out so well.

Laishram showed a tremendous amount of poise in this bout, showing very good lateral movement and speed. He sent Purevdorj to an eight count in the second round and was able to survive a late rally by Purevdorj, a southpaw who was bigger and taller and looked to be landing some punches that were taking their toll on Laishram in the third round.

Laishram lost some steam in the latter stages but had built enough of a lead that was going to be difficult for Purevdorj to overcome. But Laishram won the third anyway, giving him a 16-11 victory in what has to be considered a mild surprise.

Laishram is now at the point where he is one fight from a guaranteed medal. In the quarterfinals he will face Paddy Barnes, who won a 15-10 decision over Thomas Assomba of Cameroon.

For Purevdorj, who is 27 years old, there likely is nowhere else to go in the amateur ranks, as least as it relates to the next Olympics.

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