Olympic Welterweights: Spence Carries America’s Only Hope For a Medal Today
Errol Spence, who was somewhat fortunate to get by his match in the Round of 16, is holding onto the last hope of the United States for glory at the Olympic Games. He charges forward in action that is set for Tuesday at the ExCel Arena in London as the 2012 Olympiad continues.
Spence, if you recall, was originally declared the loser in his bout against third seed Kristan Vikas of India, but after a protest was made by USA Boxing on behalf of Spence, it was determined not only that Vikas had done excessive holding that should have been penalized, but that he had intentionally spit out his mouthpiece at one point and should have had points taken away for that as well.
The protest was successful, and that turned a loss into a 15-13 win for Spence, which also turned out to be a bit of an upset, since Vikas was rated #6 in the world by AIBA and was the third seed in this tournament.
Now Spence gets to keep competing, and Americans who are uninterested in anyone else’s story get to keep rooting. The opponent for the U.S. representative in the quarterfinal round is Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia, who dominated Adam Nolan of Ireland in the Round of 16. Zamkovoy is perhaps best known for winning a silver at the 2009 World Amateur Championships at this weight, defeating former world champ Serik Sapiyev in the semifinal.
Spence was not one of the top contenders on the world scene, garnering just a #19 ranking from AIBA, and thus did not get a bye in the opening round of activity. But he did pull off what has to be considered something of a surprise in his first bout, beating Myke Ribiero de Carvalho of Brazil on a 16-10 decision. The Texas native would make a lot of folks happy if he could at least salvage some hardware out of this experience, because most people are down on the U.S. Olympic boxing effort right now.
If he is able to beat Zamkovoy, he is guaranteed at least a bronze medal.
In other action set for Tuesday, the surprising Custio Clayton of Canada meets up with Freddie Evans of Great Britain, the world’s #2 AIBA welterweight, while Sapiyev, the second seed, tackles Gabriel Maestre Perez of Venezuela. Then there is the #1 AIBA welterweight and #1 seed, Taras Shelestyuk of the Ukraine, who goes up against Alexis Vastine of France.