Levit is robbed of Olympic gold – Vassily Levit had already made history for Kazakhstan becoming the first ever medallist for his country in the men’s Heavyweight category by reaching the final and aimed to make it gold by defeating number one seed and favourite to win, the tall Evgeny Tishchenko of Russia.
The bald headed Kazakh’s marauding style had already earned him a TKO victory in his opener against the Chinese heavyweight representative and he was not going to adapt his style for the taller Russian who had already shown that he was a highly proficient boxer, who had boxed successfully through to the final bout and also had a World Championship Gold in 2015 to his name.
Both men met in the centre of the ring at the start of the Gold medal bout to a terrific atmosphere, the longer Tishchenko began jabbing from the southpaw stance trying to keep the soon-to-be marauding Levit at bay. A left hook from Levit was blocked by the guard pf the Russian who came back firing a three punch straight salvo ending with a right hook and landing the first blow of the bout. Levit immediately returned with a salvo of his own firing two straight punches and finishing off with a left hook, all punches penetrating the guard of Tishchenko and forcing him back setting the fight off a pace that he would maintain throughout the rest of the bout.
Action continued in the centre again with Levit finding success by hooking off straight punches and forcing the Russian back to the ropes where they momentarily tied each other up. Tishchenko failed to get his jab going effectively and found Levit by the middle of the round countering his jabs and forcing him toward the perimeter with his arching punches thudding home. Levit had clearly started the bout at a quicker pace than the Russian who was caught off guard on a few occasions and yet to adjust to the pace being set. At the end of round a cut showed on the hairline of the Russian boxer. Two judges had it in favour of Levit, Judge C had it for Tishchenko whom had done little to earn the 10-9 scored.
At the start of the second the Russian found himself being swarmed by the hard nose tactics of the Kazakh, who was keen to extend his lead and force toe to toe action as much as possible, where he was having his success. The four time Asian Championship Gold medallist Levit, applied ever increasing pressure on Tishchenko who was now forced to retreat to a corner, followed head on chest by Levit who threw a punch with every step he took forward. Tishchenko unable to fire back at such close proximity tied up Levit again and the referee moved both boxers back to the centre of the ring.
The pressure being applied was clearly having an effect on the Russian World Championship Gold medallist who was now moving backwards in straight lines to avoid the hard clubbing hooks unloaded Levit, retreating only to find his back to the ropes and Levit on his toes. By failing to maintain the distance between himself and the bulldozer against him, he was unable to stop the punches coming through from mid and short range and so forced to cover up in defence from the relentless onslaught being applied heavily by the Kazakh. The irrepressible Levit enjoyed almost complete dominance in the second round from the viewer’s standpoint with his unceasing punching, however the adjudicating judges had a different understanding of what was witnessed and scored it unanimously 10-9 for the Russian Tishchenko. They went into the final round of their Rio 2016 competition with one round a piece from Judges A and B, and Judge C scoring it two rounds in favour of the Russian. Levit could now only win by a split decision.
With it all still to fight for Levit came out rampantly yet again, immediately forcing the Russian back to the ropes where they became entangled and were forced to break by the Argentine referee. Levit now had stepped up the astonishing pace he had set in round two and did not offer the briefest rest bite for Tishchenko who was quicker to hold his opponent, than to box him. He found himself resuming his perilous position as heavy bag for the leather being throw by Levit, shots thudding against his sides and ramming through his almost now permanently held guard.
The Russian seemed to have accumulated fatigue from taking the previous two rounds of punishment handed him by his opponent, whom was now feeding off the success he had been having and was looking to take it away from the judges by securing a stoppage victory. A series of thunderous left hooks landed onto the head of the Russian followed shortly by a straight right hand that caused Tishchenko to stumble and touch both gloves onto the canvas. The referee deemed it to be a slip to much booing and whistling from the arena. At the restart Tishchenko applied his guard, tucking his elbows by his waist to cover as much of his body as possible leaving only his battered midriff as target, awaiting the impending onslaught.
Levit obliged and fired a lead right and then another thunderous left hook that landed flush onto the chin of Tishchenko causing the stadium to erupt and forcing the Russian to grab hold of him one more time. As soon as he freed his opponent, Levit landed another vengeful left hook onto the chin of the Russian who’s fighting instincts momentarily took over throwing a wild burst of punches none of which found their mark. Instead it was the ducking and weaving Kazakh who countered with a three punch combination of hooks and straight punches, that forced the Russian onto the balls of his feet with only his courage keeping his weary frame from hitting the canvas. He grabbed onto the Kazakh again. The referee now took the opportunity offered by Tishchenko’s grappling to order the ringside cut man to attend to the Russian’s wound and offering him 45 seconds of timely rest bite. The spectators not pleased with the referees decision continued to boo and whistle their thoughts as cries of “KAZ-AKH-STAN!” boomed around the arena.
After having his wounds patched and the action back underway Levit was keen to finish as strong as he had started the round, coming towards his opponent like a steam train and trying to run him over, bullying him back onto the ropes irrepressibly with his punching. Tishchenko in the final 30 seconds became wild, throwing his exemplary boxing skills that had yet to be displayed out of the window completely and began swinging at the forever pressuring Kazakh trying to fight fire with fire but to no avail. Still he was forced back into a corner and made to cover up whilst still Levit pummelled him with his gloves causing him to dip at the knees with every landed blow. He struggled to stay upright, holding ever more onto the Kazakh. In the final seconds of the round Levit landed a right hand that was sure to seal the deal and his place on the winner’s podium position. The crowd too sensed a Kazakh victory and began applauding the Kazakh boxer echoing “KAZ-AKH-STAN!” around the arena again.
The judges however had again been witnessing a different bout, scoring a unanimous decision victory for the Russian fighter to the boos and disgust of the arena. The reception the decision received was one of pure disgust by the spectators and boos rang around the arena well after the Russian had scurried quickly out of the arena, barely looking as if he had just been crowned Olympic Champion. During the medal ceremony he was received more of the same treatment whilst Vassily Levit was greeted with adoring applause. Evgeny Tishchenko the reigning world championship gold medallist adds Olympic gold to his burgeoning collection, more down to the bad scoring by the officiating judges than down to his own efforts in the final.
It must be pointed out however that Tishchenko performed strongly in all of his three previous bouts beating Juan Nogueira of Brazil, Clemente Russo of Brazil and highly skilled Ruslam Tulaganov of Uzbekistan by unanimous decisions boxing well with hard accurate punching and so had earned his place in the final and his number one seeding with victory in the World Championships of 2015.
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