Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan won the Rio 2016 Men’s Olympic Welterweight (69kg) gold on Wednesday afternoon after a high-tempo final against Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov in the Riocentro Pavilion 6 boxing arena. Yeleussinov becomes the fourth successive Olympic Welterweight gold medalist for his country.
A determined Giyasov stalked his opponent to all four corners of the ring in the opening rounds but struggled to get close enough to the elusive Yeluessinov to score, with the Kazakh’s counters proving more effective. After winning the first two rounds, the 2013 World Champion Yeleussinov extended his lead in the final three minutes, and the referee confirmed the new Olympic Welterweight Champion.
“Thanks to all my friends and supporters in Kazakhstan and everyone that has been cheering for me and wishing me success, I am just so happy that I have been able to fulfil their expectations. The atmosphere in there was unreal, totally electrifying,”said the new Olympic Champion after the bout.
The day had begun with the Women’s Lightweight (60kg) Semi-Finals, followed by all four Quarter-Finals of the Women’s Middleweights (75kg), including a first Rio 2016 outing for defending champion Claressa Shields. The last sixteen of the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) competition and the gold-medal finale of the Men’s Welterweight rounded off Wednesday’s session, the fourth boxing gold of the Games.
Finland’s tough Mira Potknonen had already beaten Brazil’s Adriana Araujo and Irish defending champion Katie Taylor to reach the semis, but came up against the in-form Yin Junhua in the opening bout of the day. Having lost to Potkonen at the World Championships in May, the Chinese boxer looked determined to make amends and attacked from the first bell, establishing an early advantage that became a unanimous win by the end of the four rounds.
Junhua will face Estelle Mossely of France, winner by TKO against the Azeri Yana Alekseevna who suffered an arm injury in the first round that forced an early end to the bout.
Reigning Champion Claressa Shields’ return to the Olympic ring saw her in typically attacking mood against Russian Iaroslava Iakushina, winner of the European Qualification Event in April. The Russian provided the American with some uncomfortable moments, but Shields was relentless with her combinations and a unanimous win set up a Semi-Final encounter with Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova, winner against Morocco’s Khadija Mardi.
Despite her overall dominance, China’s Li Qian was given several tough moments against Brazil’s Andreia Bandeira, eventually progressing to meet Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn in Friday’s second semi. Fontijn faced Britain’s Savannah Marshall in another thrilling encounter between the two athletic boxers, and it was the Dutch second-seed who edged the result, ensuring her country’s first Olympic Boxing medal since Arnold Vanderlijde’s bronze at Barcelona 1992.
The Men’s Flyweight Quarter-Finals got underway with Shakhobidin Zoirov dominating his match against Azeri Elvin Mamishzada to set up up a last-four showdown with Venezuela’s Yoel Finol. The flying Finol was again looking in excellent form as he defeated Algeria’s World Championship bronze medalist Mohamed Flissi to ensure a podium finish and his country’s first Olympic medal since Los Angeles 1984.
Russia’s Misha Aloian then overcame Ceiber Avila of Colombia and China’s Hu Jingaun defeated Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia and will meet on Friday afternoon for a place in the final.