Duke Ragan came oh-so close to becoming the first U.S. men's boxer to win a gold medal in 17 years, when Andre Ward won in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. Ultimately, he came up just short; the featherweight will bring a silver medal back home to Cincinnati.
Instead, it's ROC's Albert Batyrgaziev that will take home the gold after defeating Ragan via split decision Thursday afternoon in Tokyo. Batyrgaziev fought a successful first round and, by the second round, he seemed to have completely taken over. Ragan landed a few hooks in the third, but the damage was already done.
Prior to his gold-medal fight, Batyrgaziev defeated the Dominican Republic's Alexy Miguel de la Cruz Baez in the preliminaries, then beat Mongolia's Tsendbaatar Erdenebat and Cuba's Lazaro Alvarez in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
Luckily, for the United States, it will have another chance at boxing gold — two chances, to be exact. U.S. super heavyweight Richard Torrez Jr. and lightweight Keyshawn Davis have the chance to break the gold-medal drought, too. Davis' semifinal bout is on Friday afternoon in Tokyo, while Torrez Jr.'s gold match is on Sunday.
Regardless of whether the two remaining Americans are able to earn a gold medal, the U.S. men's boxing team is heading home with four medals, the most it has claimed since 2000.
- Simon Gibbs
Women's lightweight: Top seed Kellie Harrington of Ireland and challenger Sudaporn Seesondee fought what could be generously called a defensive bout, with the referee repeatedly urging the fighters to fight. Harrington emerged with a 3-2 split decision and will face third-seeded Beatriz Ferreira of Brazil.
Men's flyweight: Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov rallied after a first-round standing-eight count and thought he had done enough to defeat Galal Yafai, but the judges gave the British boxer a 3-2 decision. Bibossinov broke into tears while Yafai tried to console him. Yafai will face Carlo Paalam, who outslugged Japan's Ryomei Tanaka to take a unanimous decision. Paalam has a chance to become the second athlete from the Philippines ever to win a gold medal. Weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz became the first earlier in these Games.
Men's middleweight: Top seed Oleksandr Khyzhniak of Ukraine will fight third seed Hebert Sousa of Brazil for gold after each fighter earned a split-decision win.
- Beau Dure