Egor Mekhontcev of Russia won a light heavyweight Olympic final that was about as close as it could possibly get on Sunday, not getting the decision until the second tie-breaker over Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan at the ExCel Arena in London.
At the end of three rounds, the score was knotted up at 15, and as is the custom, the bout went to a “countback” system, in which punches that may not have counted in the original judging formula were now factored in. Even after that particular exercise, there was no winner decided. So then there was a further tie-breaker, which included a simple vote of the judges on who the winner was. This is where Mekhontcev finally got the verdict.
Mekhontcev is an oddity, in that he has previously competed on the international level as a heavyweight, and actually moved down in weight. In 2009 he won the gold medal as a heavyweight at the World Amateur Championships, beating the two heavyweight finalists from this year’s Olympics (Clemente Russo and Oleksandr Usyk) and won the European Amateur Championship twice as a heavy. But in 2011 he competed at the World Championships as a light heavyweight (81 kg) competitor and won the bronze medal. Coming into the Olympics, he had been the #9-ranked light heavy in the world by AIBA. Niyazymbetov was rated two spots higher.
The tournament started out very well for Mekhontcev as he laid a very decisive defeat on Australian medal hopeful Damien Hooper by a score of 19-11. He then beat Elshod Rasulov of Uzbekistan 19-15, and then had an extremely impressive 23-11 victory over Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino to reach the gold medal match.
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