Boxing: Cuba's La Cruz wins light-heavyweight gold

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 18, 2016 2:45 PM

By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Stylish Cuban Julio Cesar La Cruz beat Kazakhstan's Adilbek Niyazymbetov on a unanimous points decision to become his country's first ever light-heavyweight Olympic boxing champion on Thursday.

France's Mathieu Bauderlique and Britain's Joshua Buatsi took bronze medals as losing semi-finalists.

The gold was Cuba's first in the ring at the Rio Games and light-heavyweight was the only division without a previous Cuban winner.

Fighting out of the red corner, La Cruz won the first two rounds on every judge's scorecard but conceded the third as Niyazymbetov made more of an impression.

The Cuban knew he had it won, barring a knockout, and relaxed his guard as he stood and dared the Kazakh to have a go, before whipping in quick blows and darting away.

Niyazymbetov, also the silver medallist in London four years ago, had been hoping to become the second Kazakh boxing champion of the tournament after Daniyar Yeleussinov won welterweight gold on Wednesday.

Russia's 2012 light-heavyweight champion Egor Mekhontsev turned professional after the London Games.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin Editing by Alison Williams and Neil Robinson)