Yeleussinov wins 4th straight Kazakh welterweight gold medal
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Daniyar Yeleussinov leaves with a more permanent - and gnarly - reminder of his Olympic experience than a gold medal.
Yeleussinov suffered a cut so deep and so long that it will leave a scar.
He outclassed Uzbekistan's Shakhram Giyasov on Wednesday and became the fourth straight boxer from Kazakhstan to win the Olympic welterweight gold medal.
He never seemed affected by the vicious cut suffered in his semifinal bout that stopped the fight and gave him the win on points. He used some sharp lefts to rattle Giyasov and won by unanimous decision 29-28 on all three scorecards.
With only two days between fights, the cut was not fully healed, and opened up briefly in the second round.
Yeleussinov fought with a long strip of tape that covered about a 3-inch gash that stretched from above his left eyebrow down to about the bridge of his nose. When he looks in the mirror, he'll be reminded of the blood that flowed down his face as well as the gold he won.
''I was boxing with this cut and I feel double-happy about that,'' he said.
The second-seeded Yeleussinov won all four bouts by unanimous decision.
Morocco's Mohammed Rabii and France's Souleymane Diop Cissokho won bronze medals.
The 25-year-old Yeleussinov, who failed to medal at the 2012 London Games, extended the Kazakh dominance in the welterweight division. He said ''new gyms, well-equipped'' have played a role in helping him continue the medal run begun by others 12 years ago.
Kazakh boxers Serik Sapiyev (London), Bakhyt Sarsekbayev (Beijing) and Bakhtiyar Artayev (Athens) won the last three welterweight gold medals.
''It's our weight,'' Yeleussinov said. ''It's the Kazakh weight. I just proved it again.''
Cuba won four straight heavyweight golds in the Olympics from 1992-2004, though Felix Savon won three of them.
Yeleussinov could join his brother Dauren, a former Olympic fighter, in the United States and become a professional. Yeleussinov spoke with joy about his gold triumph through a translator.
But he answered in English when asked if he wanted to turn pro.
''Right now, I don't know,'' he said.
Giyasov had defeated a London gold medalist during an upset run through the tournament to reach the final. He was a hit with his victory celebrations that mimicked soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo. Giyasov added a dash of flash in the tournament by leaping with his mouth open, and arms wide and legs apart.
Yeleussinov's win could help ease the sting of Kazakh boxer Vassiliy Levit's controversial defeat in the heavyweight gold medal bout.