Tokyo Olympics: Russian makes Olympic history as Ragan defeat means USA wait goes on

By Sports Desk August 05, 2021

Duke Ragan missed out on ending the USA's 17-year gold drought in men's boxing as Albert Batyrgaziev became the first professional to triumph in the Olympic ring.

The wait for a Games gold for the United States men continued on Thursday as a split decision went against Ragan in the featherweight final at the Kokugikan Arena, in a battle of two fighters who have recently left the amateur ranks behind.

Ragan edged it 29-28 on the scorecards of two judges, but it went against him by the same margin with two others, and a fifth, from Indonesia, scored it 30-27 in favour of Russian Olympic Committee fighter Batyrgaziev.

Their next meeting could be in a paid contest, given both are making their way in the professional game, and each man said the idea held plenty of appeal.

"That would be an additional motivation, to meet again as two professionals with my opponent in this final," Batyrgaziev said.

Ragan agreed, saying: "If that was to happen I really look forward to getting revenge and stuff like that, especially me and him, both being in the final of this Olympics.

"It would be a big headline and I'm pretty sure that everyone that tuned into the Olympics would want to see that again, especially on a bigger level."

Dagestan-born Batyrgaziev said of his gold: "This has been my dream since I started training for boxing when I was a child. This has made all the hard work and effort and the discipline I've shown since worth it. It has paid off.

"I am proud of my home. It deserves to be the home of an Olympic champion and I'll take the gold medal home to my people as I promised them."

Ragan regretted being unable to be the man to break the US gold drought, with no men's champion since Andre Ward's success at the Athens Olympics, but said silver still gave him some pleasure.

"Coming from the USA, I was the first professional boxer to compete in the Olympics. I take that and run with it. It was a blessing to be here," he said.

"I'm glad that I was a professional. A little bit more experience even though I didn't get the gold, but it's all good.

"I'm happy to be going home with the silver medal. It's not a happy ending for me but I'll take the silver medal over not getting on the podium at all."

 

FORMER 'SKIVVY' YAFAI REACHES GOLD FIGHT

Britain's Galal Yafai battled through to the men's flyweight final and explained how he has gone from a "skivvy" job to living out his dream.

Yafai earned a majority verdict over Saken Bibossinov of Kazakhstan, taking the verdict on three of the five judges' cards, and will face Carlo Paalam of the Philippines for gold on Saturday.

"It's the Olympic gold isn't it, man? Olympic gold is crazy. Just imagine being the Olympic champion," Yafai said.

"It's something I've dreamed about, but could never see happening. To be in an Olympic final, that's something I never thought I could do. Now I'm in it, it just goes to show that if you put in the hard work you reap the rewards."

The 28-year-old explained how he previously worked in a car factory in the English town of Solihull, near Birmingham, and reflected on how far he has come since those days.

"I was grafting, picking up boxes, dreaming of being at an Olympic Games," Yafai said. "I got to Rio [for the 2016 Olympics] a year later where it didn't work out for me. I've waited five years and it's paid off.

"I was doing the rubbish, picking up boxes, delivering parts. Just a skivvy job really. But now I'm on the verge of becoming Olympic champion.

"I hated working there, I'm not going to lie. I'd wanted to be a boxer for years, as I hate being told what to do. Now I'm my own boss and hopefully I can be the Olympic champion."

Related items

  • Whyte pulls out of Wallin fight with shoulder injury Whyte pulls out of Wallin fight with shoulder injury

    Dillian Whyte has been forced to cancel his heavyweight clash with Otto Wallin on October 30 due to a shoulder injury, promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed on Wednesday.

    The fight with Sweden's Wallin, set to take place at the O2 Arena in London, was the main event on an impressive card with Whyte set to return to action for the first time since beating Alexander Povetkin in March.

    However, a shoulder injury sustained in training has forced the postponement of the fight and it remains unclear whether the clash will be rescheduled.

    The winner was in line to face the undefeated Tyson Fury for the WBC heavyweight crown in 2022, though Whyte's next bout may still be against the 'Gyspy King' should the meeting with Wallin be called off completely.

    The WBC had ruled that the winner of Fury and Deontay Wilder's trilogy fight would have 30 days to agree on a bout with IBF, WBA and WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk, or face the reigning interim champion - the winner of Whyte versus Wallin.

    However, Anthony Joshua has triggered a rematch clause to ensure he fights Usyk again in 2022, opening the door for Whyte or Wallin to step up.

    Should Whyte be required to challenge Wallin in a rearranged clash, defeat will once again throw a spanner in the works for the Briton, despite him currently ranking as the WBC's interim challenger.

    Whyte has encountered similar problems before while waiting for a world title shot, having been knocked out by Povetkin in 2020 before recovering in the rematch between the pair.

  • Joshua trains with Tyson's former coach Shields after Usyk defeat Joshua trains with Tyson's former coach Shields after Usyk defeat

    Anthony Joshua is visiting various trainers across the United States as he looks to potentially alter his coaching set-up ahead of his rematch with Oleksandr Uysk.

    Joshua's tactics were scrutinised after he lost his IBF, WBA and WBO belts to the undefeated Uysk, who collected a unanimous decision at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25.

    The two-time former unified world heavyweight champion must now triumph in his rematch, likely in March 2022, to reclaim his belts after the second defeat of his professional career.

    Trainer Robert McCracken, who was criticised for allowing Joshua to attempt to outbox Usyk, has worked with the 2012 Olympic champion for the entirety of his professional career but the 32-year-old has been pictured working in gyms across the USA as he scouts for a potential new trainer.

    Virgil Hunter, Eddy Reynoso and most recently Ronnie Shields - who worked with both Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield – have all been seen with Joshua and the latter trainer confirmed the rumours the Briton was in the market for a new appointment.

    "They reached out to me and they asked if I would be interested in taking a look at AJ and that he wanted to come down to Texas and see if things would work out between him and I," Shields told ThaBoxingVoice.

    "I said, 'No problem, I would love to see if we had a connection together'.

    "He said, 'European boxing is different from boxing in the US'. He realised he had to come to the US to get something different.

    "He told me, 'Listen, I know people don't think I'm a dog. I've got to be a dog in this next fight'.

    "And that's his words. He told me, 'I just need you to show me how to be the best dog you can teach me to be.'"

    American boxer Jermall Charlo trains with Shields and posted several videos on Instagram of Joshua speaking with Tyson's former coach after undertaking a light training session.

    Joshua has provided no official confirmation on his coaching staff yet, with assistant trainers Angel Hernandez and Joby Clayton also part of his set-up.

    After losing to Andy Ruiz Jr, Joshua added Hernandez to his team but it remains unseen as to whether he will continue with McCracken as his trainer for the Usyk rematch.

     

  • Wilder congratulates Fury after post-fight snub Wilder congratulates Fury after post-fight snub

    Deontay Wilder has congratulated Tyson Fury for winning their trilogy fight, having declined to do so in the immediate aftermath of the bout in Las Vegas.

    The WBC champion defended his belt and maintained his unbeaten record (31-0-1) with a devastating 11th-round knockout of Wilder (42-2-1) in a classic slugfest.

    The American left the ring soon after the fight was over and, according to Fury, refused to show any respect before departing.

    "I'm a sportsman; I went over to show some love and respect and he didn't want to show it back," Fury said. "I'll pray for him so God will soften his heart."

    "I said, 'Well done'. And he said, 'I don't wanna show any sportsmanship or respect.' I said, 'No problem'."

    "Very surprised [by] that," Fury added. "Sore loser, an idiot. Do you know what? To be a top fighting man, you've got to show guts and respect and he couldn't do it tonight. And that's it."

    However, Wilder appears to have had a change of heart, using a post on his official Instagram account to congratulate his opponent after an epic trilogy came to an end.

    "Wow, what a hell of a night! I would like to first and foremost thank God for allowing me to give the world another part of me that's driven with passion and determination," Wilder wrote.

    "I would like to thank my team and my fans for sticking by my side through this long process. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't disappointed in the outcome but after reflecting on my journey, I now see that what God wanted me to experience is far greater than what I expected to happen.

    "We didn't get the win but a wise man once said the victories are within the lessons. I've learned that sometimes you have to lose to win. Although, I wanted the win I enjoyed seeing the fans win even more.

    "Hopefully, I proved that I am a true Warrior and a true King in this sport. Hopefully, WE proved that no matter how hard you get hit with trials and tribulations you can always pick yourself up to live and fight again for what you believe in.

    "Last but not least I would like to congratulate [Tyson Fury] for his victory and thank you for the great historical memories that will last forever."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.