Weighing in at up to 49kg, the light flyweight boxers may be the smallest in the men’s Olympic competition, but several big-hitting heroes have made their names over the years.
Following its introduction at the Mexico 1968 Games, the first Olympic gold medallist at the weight class was Venzuela’s Francisco Rodriguez. “Morochito” shot to fame in his home country after beating South Korea’s Jee Yong-Ju to become Venezuela’s first ever Olympic gold medallist, a feat no fellow countryman would be able to repeat until 34 years later at London 2012.
Since 1968, three of the twelve light flyweight golds have gone to Cuban boxers, but it is China’s Zou Shiming who has installed himself as the undisputed king of the category at the Games. After winning bronze at Athens 2004, Shiming went on to earn a famous gold in front of his home fans at Beijing 2008, rising to the occasion and powering past his Mongolian opponent with a superb onslaught midway through the second round for a stylish TKO win.
Shiming went on to make it two Olympic golds and three medals in a row at London 2012, putting in a clutch of hugely impressive displays against the likes of Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia and Ireland’s Patrick Barnes to top the podium for a second successive time. Shiming’s career has been equally successful since then, losing just once in nine bouts.