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Rio 2016 Boxing Recap


Rio 2016 Boxing Recap
By: Matthew N. Becher

All the medals have been awarded and the Rio Olympics have finally come to a close with last night’s ceremonies. In the Boxing division a lot of great fights took place, future world champions got to display their talents to the masses and controversy still reared its ugly head as it always does in this sport. Here were some of the highs and lows of what took place in the past 2 weeks.

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USA captures 3 medals:
The US team won more boxing medals then it has in over a decade. Nico Hernandez was able to win a Bronze medal to start off the pace. Shakur Stevenson lost a heartbreaking split decision to Cuban, and now two time Olympic Gold Medalist, Robeisy Ramirez. Stevenson was awarded a Silver medal and will now most likely look to turn professional. And rounding out the Americans that medaled, the Golden Girl, Claressa Shields took home the gold medal for the second time in two Olympics.

Uzbekistan ruled the podium:
The country of Uzbekistan took home 7 medals in all (3 Golds, 2 Silvers & 2 Bronze). They were represented from the smaller fighters to the bigger, and have now officially cemented their name onto the international scene with the showing in these games.
Hasanboy Dusmatov, the Light Flyweight Gold Medalist, was awarded the Val Barker trophy for the most outstanding male competitor. Dusmatov is also the first of the amateurs competing in this year’s Olympics to sign a professional contract. (He has signed on with South African Promoter Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves)

The Pro’s couldn’t cut it:
In a year that eliminated the head gear, the International Boxing Federation also allowed Professional fighters to compete with the Amateurs for the first time. This was a hot topic throughout the boxing world, with many seeing it an unfair advantage to let a seasoned veteran compete with amateur fighters. It turned out to be a non-topic. As most amateurs were not threatened by the professionals being allowed to compete, they proved themselves right. The two most well-known pros that turned out for the games, Hassan N’Daam of France and former world champion Amnat Ruenroeng could not get passed the first round and the round of 16 respectively. The amateur style was not to their ability and both will now have a difficult time with backlash in their pro careers.

Allegations of Fixed matches, again:
In the history of the games match fixing has been the black eye of the sport. The fights of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Roy Jones are two of the most famous that have ever taken place, and this year saw a few too many fights that seemed to follow suit.

AIBA was forced to take a look at fights that many felt were clearly swayed by dishonest referees and/or judges. AIBA issued a statement that agreed that some negligence may have played a role, but that no evidence could be found in the ‘fixing’ of fights. Several Judges and Referees were excused from the games early (though they were not named) and AIBA did not overturn any of the results. It is a very difficult process to manage the amateur boxing officials, but more thought and efforts need to go into the games. It seems that this happens in every Olympics now, and it is hurting the sport in a great deal.

Claressa Shields becomes history:
Claressa Shields is only 21 and may be the best female boxer on the planet. She capped off her time in Rio, the same way she did in London, with a Gold Medal. Shields became the first US boxer, Male or Female to win two gold medals. She was also awarded the Val Barker trophy for the Most Outstanding Female boxer in the games.

Shields right now is at the top of her sport and has options. She can show up again and go for the three peat, which only 3 boxers have ever done before. Or she can turn pro and try and weave her way through the Female boxing scene, which has historically not been so rewarding to its fighters.
Either way, she is a very bright star in the sport and she will be at the top for a long time.

See you all in four years, 2020, when Tokyo plays host.

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2016 Olympic Boxing Results: The USA Medals; AIBA sends home Judges & Refs


2016 Olympic Boxing Results: The USA Medals; AIBA sends home Judges & Refs
By: Matthew N. Becher

The Boxing portion of this year’s Olympic Games have been in full swing and slowly coming to an end. The first of the medals have been handed out and The United States has already done better than it has in the last 2 previous games.
​The International Boxing Federation, also known as AIBA, has issued a statement in which it conducted an investigation into fraud and/or corruption, due to the outcome of a few fights which have taken place during the tournament. AIBA stated that they had no conclusive evidence of any wrongdoing, but did dismiss several Judges and referees for performances “not at the level expected”.

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​Here is a quick wrap up of who has taken home medals and which final fights are to come. A side note, all boxing weight classes award two bronze medals.

Light Flyweight 46-49kg
Bronze: Nico Hernandez (USA)
​Joahnys Argilagos (CUB)
Silver: Yurbejen Martinez (COL)
Gold: Hasanboy Dusmatov (UZB)

Flyweight 52kg
The semifinals are all set for this weight class to take place tomorrow afternoon, Friday 8/19
Shakhobidin Zoirov (UZB) will take on Yoel Finol (COL) and the winner will face off in the Gold Medal match on Sunday 8/21 against the winner of Misha Aloian (RUS) v. Jianguan HU (CHN)

Bantamweight 56kg
Bronze: Vladimir Nikitin (RUS) (Nikitin pulled out of his match with Shakur Stevenson due to injury)
​Murodjon Akhmadaliev (UZB)
The Gold Medal matchup will be between Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba and Shakur Stevenson of the United States. Stevenson will be attempting to become the first American male to win a Boxing Gold since Andre Ward did so in the 2004 games. Also, according to social media messages revealed yesterday, this will be Stevenson’s final amateur fight, as he has signed on with Floyd Mayweather Jr.s promotional company, The Money Team.

Lightweight 60kg
Bronze: Lazaro Jorge Alvarez (CUB)
​Otgondalai Dorjnyamb (MGL)
Silver: Sofiane Oumiha (FRA)
Gold: Robson Conceicao (BRA) (This was the first Olympic Medal in Boxing for the country of Brazil)

Light Welterweight 64kg
The semifinals will take place in this weight class on Friday 8/19 with Vitaly Dunaytsev (RUS) v. Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (UZB), with the winner taking on either Artem Harutyunyan (GER) or Lorenzo Collazo Sotomayor (AZE). The Gold Medal match will be at 2pm on Sunday, 8/21

Welterweight 69kg
Bronze: Douleymane Diop Cissokho (FRA)
​Mohammed Rabii (MAR)
Silver: Shakhram Giyasov (UZB)
Gold: Daniyar Yeleussinov (KAZ)

Middleweight 75kg
Bronze: Kamran Shakhsuva (AZE)
​Misael Uziel Rodriguez (MEX)
The Gold Medal match will take place this Saturday, 8/20 at 2pm between Arlen Lopez (CUB) and Bektemir Melikuziev (UZB)

Light Heavyweight 81kg
Bronze: Mathieu Albert Bauderlique (FRA)
​Joshua Buatsi (GBR)
Silver: Adilbek Niyazymbet (KAZ)
Gold: Julio Cesar La Cruz (CUB)

Heavyweight 91kg
Bronze: Rustam Tulaganov (UZB)
​Erislandy Savon (CUB)
Silver: Vassiliy Levit (KAZ)
Gold: Evgeny Tishchenko

Super Heavyweight +91kg
The semifinals are set for Tomorrow Friday, 8/19. The first match is between James Yoka (FRA) v. Filip Hrgovic (CRO). That winner will take on the other semi bracket winner between Joe Joyce (GBR) v. Ivan Dychko (KAZ). The gold medal match will take place on Sunday 8/21

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UPDATED AIBA STATEMENT


UPDATED AIBA STATEMENT

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Further to the decision taken yesterday by AIBA with regard to the reassessment of the judges and referees officiating during Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the AIBA Vice Presidents and Executive Board members have decided to reassign immediately the current AIBA Executive Director to a new role within the organization. Consequently, the operational responsibilities for the remainder of the Olympic Boxing Competition will now fall under the responsibilities of the most senior Vice President of the AIBA Executive Board, Mr Franco Falcinelli, President of the European Boxing Confederation.

The Olympic Games represent the pinnacle of all sports and Boxing has been part of this since 1904. Since the beginning of Rio 2016, AIBA has conducted 250 bouts and remains fully committed to a zero tolerance policy towards fair play in boxing always acting in the boxers’ utmost interest.

The latest decisions taken emphasized AIBA will not shy away from its responsibilities and will continue to ensure a level playing field and a fair and transparent sport. It is of paramount importance to protect our sport and its R&J community whose integrity is constantly put into question.

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The Ladies take the Ring: Claressa Shields seeks another Gold; Katie Taylor is upset by Finland’s Potkonen


The Ladies take the Ring: Claressa Shields seeks another Gold; Katie Taylor is upset by Finland’s Potkonen
By: Matthew N. Becher

​The Women began fighting on Friday in three weight classes. The higher seeds mostly did what was predicted, with the biggest upset coming this morning when defending 60kg Lightweight Gold Medalist Katie Taylor, of Ireland, was defeated 2-1 by Finland’s Mira Potkonen.

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​The next biggest fighter of the sport, American, Claressa Shields has been patiently waiting for her first fight as a #1 seed. She will take on Russian Iaroslava Iakushina on Wednesday.
Some things to remember in Women’s boxing. This is only the 2nd Olympics with the Women boxing in the games. There are not as many participants as the men, yet. Most of the top seeds have a direct spot, straight to the quarterfinals. Once more countries start competing, the rounds will expand. Also, the Women still wear headgear. This is the first time the men have gotten rid of the headgear in over 25 years. So we’ll see what happens as far as the Women go.
Here is how the other weight classes are stacking up so far.

Flyweight 48-51kg

On Friday, the Flyweights kicked things off, with Tetyano Kob of Ukraine, Mandy Bujold of Canada, Ingrit Valencia Victoria of Columbia and Sara Ourahmoune of France all advancing to the Quarter finals.

They will all compete tomorrow for a spot in the medal rounds.

The favorites in this division are Nicola Adams of Great Britain, Ren Cancan of China, Peamwilai Laopeam of Thailand and Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan.

Lightweight 57-60kg

The Lightweights also started last Friday with Mira Potkonen of Finland narrowly defeating the local Brazilian Adriana Araujo. Also advancing to today’s Quarterfinals were Chinas Junhua Yin, Mikaela Mayer of the United States and Italy’s Irma Testa.

So far, Mira Potkonen upset the reigning champion Katie Taylor of Ireland. While Junhua Yin also upset Yana Alekseevna of Azerbaijan to advance to the Medal rounds.

Later this afternoon, Irma Testa of Italy will match up against Estelle Mossely of France. And the fight to watch will be against Mayer of the US, as she squares up against Anastasiia Beliakova of Russia.

Middleweight 69-75kg

The Middleweights began their competition yesterday. Advancing were Iaroslava Iakushina of Russia, Dariga Shamikova of Kazakstan, Andreia Bandeira of Brazil and Savannah Marshall of Great Britain.
The division will continue on Wednesday with the Golden Girl Claressa Shields taking on the Russian Iakushina for a chance at history, with Shields vying to become a two time Olympic Gold Medalist.
Also fighting on Wednesday are Shakimova v. Khadija Mardi of Morocco, Bandeira of Brazil v. LI Qian of China and Marshall of Great Britain v. Nouchka Fontijn of The Netherlands.

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Rio Olympic Boxing Update: Prelim Action in 5 weight classes


Rio Olympic Boxing Update: Prelim Action in 5 weight classes
By: Matthew N. Becher

The Boxing portion of the 2016 Rio Olympics is in full swing, as participants in five weight classes, from the Light Fly to the Heavyweights have begun their preliminary journeys toward Olympic medals. Here is a list of some of the upcoming action and who to look out for. A side note on these games, this year is the first year that the punch total system has been abandoned and the more professional boxing style of the 10-9 rule is being used in a three round bout. Also, headgear, for the men has been taken away. This is the first time in over 30 years that the amateurs will not be wearing headgear.

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Light Flyweight (46-49kg)
Galal Yafai (GBR), Yurberjen Martinez (COL), Carmona Heredia (ESP), Joselito Velazquez (MEX), Mathias Hamunyela (NAM) and Nico Hernandez (USA) were all successful in their first preliminary fights and advanced past the round of 32. They will all have tough tasks this morning as they take on their official ranked opponents to advance to the quarter finals. Fighters to look out for will be Joahynys Argilagos (CUB), LV Bin (CHN), Rogen Ladon (PHI), Patty Barnes (IRL) and Egorov Vasilii (RUS).

The matchup of the weight class will be Argilagos of Cuba and Egorov of Russia, two of the top seeds from two of the top boxing countries.

Lightweight (60kg)
Making their way through to the round of 16 in the Lightweight division are Carmine Tommasone (ITA), Daisuke Narimatsu (JPN), Carlos Balderas Jr. (USA), Hurshid Tojibaev (UZB), Joseph Cordina (GBR), Anvar Yunusov (TJK), Enrico Lacruz (NED), Adlan Abdurashidov (RUS) , Reda Benbaziz (ALG), Sofiane Oumiha (FRA), former professional world champion Amnat Ruenroeng (THA), and David Joyce (IRL).

The fights to watch out for will be Carlos Balderas of the United States against Japans Daisuke Narimatsu, Adlad Abudrashidov of Russia against Reda Benbaziz of Algeria, and of course the former title holder Amnat Ruenroeng of Thailand against Frances Sofiane Oumiha.

Welterweight (69kg)
The welterweight class is one of the busiest, with the final round of 32 finishing up qualifying this morning. So far the following fighters have advanced to the round of 16: Rayton Okwiri (KEN), Tuvshinbat Byamba (MGL), Steven Donnelly (IRL), Eimantas Stanionis (LTU), Shakhram Giyasov (UZB), Vladimir Margaryan (ARM), Soulemane Cissokho (FRA) and Saylom Ardee (THA).

The favorites in the weight class are Mohammed Rabii of Morocco and Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan. But do not take your eye off the Cuban fighter Roniel Iglesias who may look to upset the division.

Light heavyweight (81kg)
The Light heavy’s have completed their round of 32 yesterday with one of the biggest upsets of the games happening on Saturday afternoon when Brazilian Michel Borges defeated professional title contender Hassan N’dam of Cameroon, sending the pro home early after only one bout.

The following fighters have advanced to the round of 16 Mehmet Unal (TUR), Hrvoje Sep (CRO), Borges (BRA), Juan Carlos Carrillo (COL), Carlos Mina (ECU), Joshua Buatsi (GBR), Albert Ramirez (VEN), Peter Mullenberg (NED), Teymur Mammadov (AZE) and Mikhail Dahaliavets (BLR).

This weight class is full of fun fights with an array of upsets that have and will happen. The favorites still look to be Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan and Julio Cesar La Cruz of Cuba, but at this point, anything could happen.

Heavyweight (91kg)
Only two preliminary fights needed to take place in the round of 32 on Saturday with Juan Nogueira of Brazil and Lawrence Okolie of Great Britain advancing.
The favorites of the Heavy’s are Erislandy Savon of Cuba, Vassiliy Levit of Kazakhstan and Evgeny Tishchenko of Russia.

It is the heavyweight division, so the fights should be very exciting and anyone can win, with just one punch.

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Top Ways to Stream Olympic Boxing Live


Top Ways to Stream Olympic Boxing Live
By: Chris Brantner

Prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, Boxing has received plenty of attention. Some of the most talked about portions of the event have been the several rule changes. First of all, professional boxers are now allowed in the Olympics for the first time in 112 years. However, only three boxers decided to sign up for the opportunity. Another is the removal of headgear from the Men’s fights, which will surely make for more exciting fights compared to previous years.

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Another big change is the scoring system being changed from a punch-counting system to the traditional 10-point must system used in professional fights. Ultimately, the biggest story in the U.S. is if the one of the six men will end the medal drought after failing to reach the podium in the London Olympics. In total, eight U.S. fighters will be attending the Olympics, which is the smallest team since 1908. Hopefully, it will be quality over quantity for the U.S. team and they can bring home some hardware.

The two main hopefuls for the United States are Men’s Bantamweight fighter Shakur Stevenson and reigning Women’s Middleweight fighter Claressa Shields. Stevenson is coming into the Olympics boasting an impressive 23-0 international record, making him a strong contender in his division. Claressa Shields has already proven herself with a Gold Medal in London and is still considered one of the best female boxers in the world. She is a solid favorite and the fighter to beat in the Middleweight division.
During the boxing competition of the Olympics, all of the TV coverage will be coming from NBC Sports Network. This is traditionally a cable network that is only available for those with a cable subscription. However, the growing trend of cable cutting has led to there being several viable options to watch NBCSN without cable. In fact, there are options to watch just about the entire Olympics without cable, as this Olympic live stream guide displays.

There are a few different services out there offering NBCSN streaming and there is no right choice. Instead, you should pick your service based on what works best for you. Some will be ideal if you just want to watch the boxing matches, but others might be better if you want to expand to watching other Olympic events or just other TV channels without cable.
Here are the top streaming options:

NBC Sports Live Extra: The service offered lets you watch NBC Sports coverage of tons of live sporting events. Since NBCSN is covering the entire Boxing event that means you can stream every fight on NBC Sports Live Extra. The streams are available either from your computer or on iOS and Android devices. Obviously, this will be a great option to watch the Boxing matches online, but the real downside is you need to authenticate a cable subscription to access the service. Realistically, you have two options. You can either ask a friend to borrow their cable login or you can sign up for our next option, PlayStation Vue, which can be used in place of a cable subscription to access NBC Sports Live Extra.

PlayStation Vue: Other than being able to access the NBC Sports app, PlayStation Vue also lets you live stream NBCSN through its own streaming interface. In addition to NBCSN, you can stream more than 50 other channels normally only available through a cable subscription. All of those live streaming channels only costs $29.99 per month. Certain areas get access to local network channels like FOX, NBC, and CBS, but the price bumps up to $39.99 per month.

Some of the notable channels on PlayStation Vue are ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT, FX, and Comedy Central. If you are focusing on watching the Olympics, you can watch on NBCSN, MSNBC, CNBC, Golf Channel, USA, and Bravo. In total, it offers over 1,000 hours of coverage for the entirety of the Olympics.
Sling TV: A service very similar to PlayStation Vue, Sling TV offers tons of live coverage of the Olympics and the boxing event as well. The Sling Blue package costs $25 per month and offers NBCSN streaming, so you can easily watch the fights. In addition, USA and Bravo are included in this package for Olympics coverage.

Some locations have NBC as well on Sling TV, but that is quite limited across the U.S. If you want to include more Olympics coverage, you can add two of the add-on packages for $5 more per month each. The Sports Extra Package will get you Golf Channel and the World News Extra Package adds MSNBC and CNBC for a similar amount of coverage as PlayStation Vue for $35 per month.

Olympics Boxing Schedule by Round (via NBC)

August 6th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Light Flyweight, Lightweight, Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight

August 7th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Lightweight, Welterweight, Light Heavyweight

August 8th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Light Flyweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Heavyweight

August 9th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Lightweight, Welterweight, Middleweight, Heavyweight

August 10th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Bantamweight, Light Welterweight, Light Heavyweight
Men’s Quarterfinals
Light Flyweight, Heavyweight

August 11th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Bantamweight, Light Welterweight, Welterweight, Light Heavyweight

August 12th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Middleweight
Men’s Quarterfinals
Lightweight
Men’s Semifinals
Light Flyweight
Women’s Preliminary Rounds
Flyweight, Lightweight

August 13th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Flyweight, Super Heavyweight
Men’s Quarterfinals
Welterweight
Men’s Semifinals
Heavyweight

August 14th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Bantamweight, Light Welterweight
Men’s Quarterfinals
Light Heavyweight
Men’s Semifinals
Lightweight
Men’s Finals
Light Flyweight
Women’s Preliminary Rounds
Middleweight

August 15th
Men’s Preliminary Rounds
Flyweight, Middleweight
Men’s Semifinals
Welterweight
Men’s Finals
Heavyweight
Women’s Quarterfinals
Lightweight

August 16th
Men’s Quarterfinals
Bantamweight, Light Welterweight, Super Heavyweight
Men’s Semifinals
Light Heavyweight
Men’s Finals
Lightweight
Women’s Quarterfinals
Flyweight

August 17th
Men’s Quarterfinals
Flyweight
Men’s Finals
Welterweight
Women’s Quarterfinals
Middleweight
Women’s Semifinals
Lightweight

August 18th
Men’s Semifinals
Bantamweight, Middleweight
Men’s Finals
Light Heavyweight
Women’s Semifinals
Flyweight

August 19th
Men’s Semifinals
Flyweight, Light Welterweight, Super Heavyweight
Women’s Semifinals
Middleweight
Women’s Finals
Lightweight

August 20th
Men’s Finals
Bantamweight, Middleweight
Women’s Finals
Flyweight

August 21st
Men’s Finals
Flyweight, Light Welterweight, Super Heavyweight
Women’s Finals
Middleweight

As you can tell from the schedule there will be a ton of boxing matches to watch during the Olympics. It is a fifteen day gap before the first Men’s fight in the Preliminary Rounds to the last fight in the Finals Round and all of the fights will be scattered throughout the days. Having access to NBCSN will be a huge asset to anyone who does not cable and thankfully the above options are all top quality ways to watch online.
Leave any comments or questions below!

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Team USA Boxing Preview: Rio Olympics 2016


Team USA Boxing Preview: Rio Olympics 2016
By: Matthew N. Becher

​We are less than a month away from the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, with the boxing portion taking place from August 6th thru the 21st. All of the competitors for team USA are set, with six men and two women representing the country. Here are a few notes that may help you keep things in order.

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The USA Representatives:
-Carlos Balderas (Lightweight/132lbs) 19 years old; Santa Maria, Calif
-Charles Conwell (Middleweight) 18 years old; Cleveland, OH
-Nico Hernandez (Light Flyweight) 20 years old: Wichita, Kansas
-Mikaela Mayer (Lightweight) 26 years old: Los Angeles, Calif
-Gary Antuanne Russell (Light Welterweight) 20 years old: Capitol Heights, Maryland (Brother of WBC world champion Gary Russel Jr.)
-Claressa Shields (Middleweight) 21 years old: Flint, Mich. Defending Olympic Gold Medalist
-Shakur Stevenson (Bantamweight) 19 years old: Newark, NJ
-Antonio Vargas (Flyweight) 19 years old: Kissimmee, FL

The missing Captain:

The captain of team USA is heavyweight Cam F. Awesome, formerly known as Lenroy Thompson, who qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, but was not able to make this year’s team. Unfortunately Awesome will not be competing at the games in Rio, and fulfilling his dream of winning an Olympic medal. He has also speculated that this may be the end of his boxing career, as he is more of a fan of the amateur boxing style instead of the professional one. For many that have followed amateur boxing for the past several years, Awesome’s personality and leadership will be greatly missed.

The Contenders:

While all of our athletes are more than good enough to come home medalist, the cream of the crop are narrowed down to two of our boxers. On the Men’s side, it is Shakur Stevenson. Stevenson is 23-0 in international competition and one of the best young fighters in the world. He has the ability to really make a name for himself in these games and become the first US, Male, Olympian to win a Gold Medal since Andre Ward did it over a decade ago, at the 2004 games in Athens. The other hopeful to bring home the gold, is none other than the best female fighter on the planet, Claressa Shields. Claressa won the Gold 4 years ago in London at the age of 17, becoming the first women to ever win a Gold Medal in the inaugural year of Women’s Boxing at the Olympic Games. Shields is not only a heavy favorite to win, but could outshine all other athletes at this year’s games. She has the makings to be a star and the goods to become a phenomenal pro someday.

Olympic Boxing will be held from August 6th-August 21st. The first events will begin at 10am EST on the 6th. Check this website for updates

http://www.nbcolympics.com/live-stream-schedule/boxing?day=1 and all streaming fights from NBC.

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AIBA to allow pro’s in the 2016 Olympic games, Fair or Foul?


AIBA to allow pro’s in the 2016 Olympic games, Fair or Foul?
By: Matthew Becher

Last month a vote took place with AIBA (Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur or International Boxing Association) in which 84 out of its 88 federations agreed to allow professional boxers to participate in the upcoming summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. This will be the first time that professional boxers will be allowed to compete in a, regularly, amateur event and against other amateur participants. This brings up many questions of why this has been changed so close to the actual events and why a mixing of pro’s and novices would be thought to be Okay to do.

2011 SAT&CO AIBA World Boxing Championships, Baku

The reasoning for AIBA to allow professional athletes and amateurs to compete with one another is to “increase the amount of competitive boxers”, having amateurs step up their competition can only make them better. What then happens to amateur boxing? Under this new model, the true amateur boxer, who has gone through years of tournaments and trials just to make it to the Olympics will be able to retain their amateur status, but why would they? If you are already going to end up fighting grown men and paid prize fighters in the biggest stage that an amateur can achieve, why not just become a pro as early as possible, get paid yourself. An amateur trying to make an Olympic team goes through a very intense and grueling process to just qualify for an Olympic games. It only comes around every four years, and within those four years, you are traveling, training and for most of these youngsters, still going to school. If you could sign with a promoter, make money fighting and still be able to be able to fight in an “amateur” styled tournament, why stay in a dorm room with other amateurs?

What happens to the great amateur programs of the world, namely the Cubans and Russians? We see so many great professional Cuban and Ex-Soviet country fighters right now, and the main reason why they are so dominant is because they are from Socialist countries, that have extremely disciplined amateur programs. They are paid, not always handsomely, and are only allowed to fight in amateur style tournaments. This, in most people’s opinions, engrains the trades of the sport into them so well, they become second nature. If a fighters has 300+ amateur fights, then they know when to jab and when to duck. It becomes like breathing, it is instilled. They biggest highlight for these men, especially the Cubans, who are technically never allowed to turn pro (unless they defect from their native country) is winning an Olympic Gold, some even do it multiple times. If pro fighters can just get in there with the amateurs, what would happen to these dominant boxing countries?

Safety also has to be an issue. This year, AIBA has also decided to go back to the days of no head gear. This is an issue all in itself, and does seem to have some great benefits, but does it when we start putting 18yr old kids in the ring with say 30+ year old men, some who are current or former world champions. Watching fighters like Gennady Golovkin, Sergey Kovalev, or Artur Beterbiev knockout other professionals in 1 round is one thing, but how does that play out when they put that kind of power on a novice? Many amateurs seem to have no problem with this happening, but we suspect that as bravado. You cannot expect an amateur, who may have sparred with pros in the past, to be able to take that type of power. Sparring with headgear is one thing, a real fight is completely different.

What does AIBA look to get out of this? Is it higher ratings, since Boxing may be on the docket to drop as an Olympic sport in the future? Do they want bigger Knockouts? Most amateur fights go to decisions and work on a point system, does getting rid of Headgear and adding professionals increase viewership and knockdowns? Do they want Stars now, instead of building them up like it used to with Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Oscar De la Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Vasyl Lomachenko, George Foreman, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and the list can go on and on.

Some boxers have showed interest in actually participating in this. Manny Pacquiao has said he would see how it would balance with his new Senatorial duties. Amir Khan has shown interest in participating for his parent’s homeland of Pakistan. Light Heavyweight contender Artur Beterbiev looks to be making his way to Rio. Other boxers have spoken out about it, speaking about its safety issues. The World Boxing Council has even put out a warning, that any professional boxers who do decide to participate in the Olympics will be banned from their rankings for two years. It is a debate that is going on right now, and both sides are making good points to their arguments. Should professionals be allowed to compete in the Olympics, they do in Golf, Basketball, Tennis, Hockey….but those guys aren’t getting punched by fully developed, trained, fighters.

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Biyarslanov Aiming to Make History in the Olympics


Biyarslanov Aiming to Make History in the Olympics
By: Ed Hitchins

When Canadian Olympian Arthur Biyarslanov first took up boxing, he never thought of a gold medal. He thought of ways to get out of it.

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“I really sucked,” recalls the 21-year-old. “I don’t like doing something I’m not good at.

“I was the worst one of all the guys there,” Biyarslanov says.

“I hated going back to the gym. Sometimes I would pretend I was asleep because I didn’t want to go. My brother boxed too. He would eventually catch onto my little tricks.”

Biyarslanov, born in Chechnya during the war with Russia in the mid ‘90s and emigrated immigrated to Canada from Azerbaijan when he was 10, would eventually start winning.

After the 2012 London games, he set his sights firmly on 2016.

“I felt that, my whole life I’ve been a fighter,” he says. “I have the fight in me. So I started to take boxing seriously. I just kept going and winning tournaments and got more motivated. So, I set a goal for myself for 2016.”

Biyarslanov, who has dreams of becoming a cop, put his degree in psychology on hold. Training 30 hours in the gym at a week, he simply doesn’t have time to study.

He also found a new trainer. Chris Johnson, who won a bronze medal at the 1992 Olympic games. Johnson feels Biyarslanov’s dedication to his craft is what will carry him into Rio.

“It seems like I’ve training him for 10 years,” says Johnson, who has been Biyarslanov’s trainer for the past six months. “He’s more confident and powerful. He hits the target.”

“This kid has all the attributes,” Johnson says. “He has power, speed and smart. He’s a wolf, he’s going to tear the opponent apart when he’s in the ring.”

Biyarslanov, who goes by the nickname ‘Chechen Wolf’ in honour of his roots, is aware of Canada’s drought in boxing. There hasn’t been a Canadian medalist in boxing since David Defiabagon in 1996. A Canadian hasn’t won a gold medal since Lennox Lewis took it in Seoul in 1988.

Having won Pan Am Gold in Toronto last summer and ending a 50-year drought at that competition, Biyarslanov would like to do the same at the Olympics.

“It would be awesome. It’s been a really long time,” he says. “Being in Canada, if I wasn’t here I would have never taken up boxing. I would have never had the opportunity to go to school.

“I want to work as hard as I can and return to Canada with the gold medal,” Biyarslanov says.

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