Tokyo Olympics: Tearful Whittaker denied by Lopez, Clarke bid cut short

By Sports Desk August 04, 2021

Great Britain's Ben Whittaker was left in tears after Arlen Lopez denied him a gold medal in the men's light heavyweight final.

A bronze medallist at the 2019 World Championship, Whittaker went one better in Tokyo. However, his gold medal hopes were dashed after a 4-1 defeat to the Cuban, who claimed his second Olympic gold in the process.

The 24-year-old looked dejected as he took to the podium, while opting not to wear the silver medal and placing it in his tracksuit pocket.

"Every boxer does not go in there to receive a silver medal. Every boxer in my weight class wanted the gold and I was one of those," he said.

"I truly woke up this morning and believed it was my time. 

"I had the whole of the west Midlands behind me, Great Britain, and I just felt like a failure, so I couldn't celebrate the silver at that time.

"I still can't just yet. When I look back in a few years it will probably be a great achievement, but I was just so upset as I wanted that gold, not the silver."


NO COMPLAINTS FROM WHITTAKER

Despite his disappointment, Whittaker was full of praise for his opponent.

Lopez became the eighth boxer to win Olympic gold medals in two events, having also won when competing at middleweight in Rio five years ago.

"The right man won. I didn't have the right gameplan and he was a lot better than I thought," Whittaker admitted.

"He's a two-time gold medallist for a reason. It showed what level he is at.

"He is a fantastic boxer and hopefully I get to see him again and try and right that wrong."
 

CLARKE BID CUT SHORT

A cut above his right eye denied Frazer Clarke a place in the men's super-heavyweight final.

The Team GB boxing captain sustained the blow during his bout with top seed Bakhodir Jalolov, who subsequently advanced through to fight for the gold medal.

But despite his disappointment, Clarke was thrilled to secure a bronze medal.

"It's not the fairy tale that I wanted, but I'm proud of myself," Clarke told BBC Sport.

"The last six months of my life, I've made more sacrifices than I've made in the last 18 years when it comes to boxing. 

"To get in there with one of the best, it's a pleasure for me, an honour for me. I'm an Olympic bronze medallist; never could I see that for myself."


TORREZ THROUGH

Jalolov will face America's Richard Torrez Jr in the battle to claim gold.

Torrez impressively stopped Kamshybek Kunkabayev of Kazakhstan in round two of their semi-final bout and the 22-year-old believes that winning a gold medal is his destiny.

"I feel like I'm supposed to be here. I feel like it's meant to be," he said. "I'm just going to keep doing all I can to be on that gold medal podium."

No American has fought in the final at the weight limit since Riddick Bowe back in 1988. He lost out to Lennox Lewis, who was representing Canada.

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