Arlen Lopez made it two boxing gold medals for Cuba on Saturday afternoon as he defeated Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev to become the Rio 2016 Men’s Olympic Middleweight Champion. In a repeat of the World Championship final in Doha last year, Lopez again found the upper hand right from the first bell, and after three exhausting rounds, the emotion of his first Olympic title was clear for all to see.
“It’s incredible, I can’t really explain the feeling right now. I have achieved all my goals by being Olympic and World Champion at the same time. I want to thank my mother and my coach Julian Ricardo Cedeño. He has spent a lot of time with me, training me for this moment and now I am Olympic Champion. I still can’t quite believe it. This is the dream of any athlete and not many people achieve it, I am thrilled,” said Lopez after the bout.
The top-seed had begun his Rio 2016 campaign with an emphatic win over Hungary’s Zoltan Harcsa, going on to beat Christian Mbilli of France in the last sixteen. A unanimous Semi-Final win over Kamran Shakhsuvarly of Azerbaijan put the Cuban within touching distance of the gold medal, and another dominant display in the final saw the 23 year-old crowned champion.
Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev won the Middleweight silver, with Mexico’s Misael Rodriguez and Azerbaijan’s Kamran Shakhsuvarly winning the bronze.