The Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament will draw to a close on Sunday afternoon, when a sell-out Riocentro Pavilion 6 will host four more champion-defining finals. The Women’s Middleweights (75kg) will begin the day, followed by the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) and Light Welterweights (64kg), with the Super Heavyweights (+91kg) wrapping up the competition.
As with Nicola Adams yesterday, the final session begins with a London 2012 Olympic Champion looking to defend her title. Still just 21 years-old, the USA’s Claressa Shields has been the dominant force in Women’s Middleweight competitions ever since that gold, and has the potential to re-write the history books over the next decade. First, she must face the technical Dutch boxer Nouchka Fontijn. Shields may have beaten her in their World Championship final earlier this year, but Fontijn caused the American more problems than most along the way, and will have learned much from that tough defeat in Kazakhstan in May.
The second bout of the day sees Russia’s London 2012 Semi-Finalist Misha Aloian face Uzbekistan’s 2014 Asian Games silver medallist Shakhobidin Zoirov in the Men’s Flyweight final. The Uzbek defeated Venezuela’s Yoel Finol in a tough Day Thirteen Semi-Final, and he will need to be back to his best form if he is to overcome the former two-time World Champion Aloian and win the gold.
The Light Welterweight Final sees Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov face Azerbaijan’s Lorenzo Sotomayor after the pair came through an incredibly competitive field to reach the gold-medal match. The Azeri defeated second-seed Yasnier Toledo in the last sixteen, while Gaibnazarov overcame current World Champion Vitaly Dunaytsev to avenge his defeat in the Doha final last year.
The Super Heavyweights look set to deliver a fitting grandstand finale to the tournament, with France’s current World Champion Tony Yoka facing the man he beat in the Semi-Finals in Doha, Britain’s Joe Joyce, for the gold medal. It is honours even in the boxers’ previous two meetings, while their contrasting styles should add to an intriguing encounter. Yoka has shown remarkable agility and a powerful reach so far in this campaign, but Joyce will know that if he can land a handful of his trademark hammer blows early on, a second Rio 2016 gold for British boxing could be within reach.