Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez joined a select club on Saturday afternoon as he won his second Olympic title at the age of just 22, defeating the USA’s Shakur Stevenson in a brilliant Rio 2016 Bantamweight (56kg) final. It was the match that many boxing fans had hoped for, with two exciting and naturally gifted boxers reigniting one of Olympic boxing’s great rivalries, and the final more than lived up to its promise.
The 2012 Olympic Flyweight Champion had endured a tough qualification route to reach Rio, but once the number six seed got up and running against Morocco’s Mohamed Hamout on Day Nine, he always looked capable of reaching the final. Stevenson, too, had been in sparkling form in his first Olympic Games, and was tied with Ramirez after two rounds. Each time the momentum swung, the sell-out crowd raised the volume a little more, and after the tightest of final rounds, it was Ramirez who edged the split decision.
“I feel really happy. I had a tough build up to the Games, but I finally qualified and I worked really hard over the last few months to make sure I was ready and capable of gold. I have to thank my family, my wife, my daughter Renata and the whole of Cuba and everyone that has supported me along the way, helping me to become Olympic Champion. It was an incredible final, the one I think the fans were hoping to see. I followed the instructions from my corner and was able to win the gold,” said an emotional Ramirez after the bout.
The USA’s Shakur Stevenson won the Bantamweight silver, with Vladimir Nikitin of Russia and Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev winning the bronze.