Robeisy Ramirez edges Stevenson for bantamweight boxing gold
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba won his second Olympic boxing gold medal Saturday, claiming a split decision over U.S. bantamweight Shakur Stevenson in a tremendously competitive bout.
Nicola Adams also claimed her second Olympic gold for Britain, defending her London flyweight title with a unanimous decision over France's Sarah Ourahmoune.
Middleweight Arlen Lopez capped the session by claiming Cuba's third gold and sixth overall medal in Rio, beating Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziev by unanimous decision.
Ramirez and Stevenson put on a high-level exhibition for the crowd at Riocentro Pavilion 6, showing off athleticism and sophisticated boxing skill for three perilous rounds. Ramirez backed up his flyweight gold medal from the London Olympics by moving up in weight and winning perhaps the most talented division in the Rio Games, capped by three thrilling rounds with Stevenson.
Ramirez had greater pace in the first round, winning it on all three cards, but Stevenson increased his offense to claim the second unanimously.
Ramirez continued his aggression in the third, particularly in the final minute. Stevenson landed a flurry at the bell, but two of the three judges awarded the third to Ramirez.
Ramirez and Stevenson could be friendly rivals for many years if Ramirez elects to go pro outside Cuba. The fighters embraced after the bout in a show of mutual respect, and Ramirez celebrated with a standing backflip in the center of the ring.
Stevenson was distraught after the first loss of his international career, sobbing loudly and openly after leaving the ring. Coach Kay Koroma and his entire family rallied around him for comfort, and he eventually gathered himself for the medal ceremony.
Ramirez fought four times to reach the gold-medal bout, while Stevenson only fought twice after an opening bye and a walkover.
Adams completed her comfortable run through the flyweight bracket with another exhibition of her skill. She survived a mid-fight charge from Ourahmoune to become the first two-time women's Olympic boxing champion, although U.S. middleweight Claressa Shields could join her Sunday.
Lopez, the middleweight world champion, closed the show with another remarkable effort against a top talent, battering the 20-year-old Melikuziev with precise punches that eventually opened a cut on his eye. After starting his tournament with a percussive knockout, Lopez seemingly improved in each round before soundly outboxing Melikuziev, whose power and potential made him one of the Rio Games' breakout stars.