USA v Cuba in Bantamweight Final

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     A tantalising Ghas been set up following the day’s two bantamweight semi-finals between Shakur Stevenson and Robeisy Ramirez, both of whom won their bouts to have the chance to fight for the ultimate Olympic prize.

Ramirez started his semi-final bout patiently, landing an opportune and well-timed back hand to start the proceedings. The London 2012 Flyweight gold medallist got quickly onto working his educated jab, before landing a flurry of straight punches as he stood in front of his opponent, the World Championship silver medallist and number two seed of the tournament, Uzbekistan’s Murodjon Akhmadaliev.

He continued to landed with punches to the head and body of the Uzbek who for his part was throwing hooks at the high held guard of the Cuban star getting through only on occasion but looking the busier of the two. The judges saw the first round in favour of the Cuban scoring it 10-9 across the board.

The second got underway with the Uzbek coming forward with increased pace, forcing Ramirez into the corner early on. Ramirez boxed his way out before landing a wonderfully placed corkscrew right that lifted Akhmadaliev’s head from behind his guard as they stood toe to toe. Ramirez elected to stand in front of his opponent, adjusting his feet to change angle on the Uzbek and landing uppercuts through the guard.

But as long as Ramirez decided to remain on the inside of his opponent, Akhmadaliev would take the opportunity of a stationary target to unload leather of his own, although with little success. Ramirez taking little steps back and bending at the waist forced mistakes from Akhmadaliev and countered accordingly. In the final thirty seconds the Uzbek boxer applied greater pressure on the Cuban but walked onto several straight punches and was forced backwards. After an all action second round, the judges scored the second as they scored the first in favour of Ramirez who had almost booked his place in the gold medal bout.

The final round both boxers assumed their now regular positions above the Olympic logo, electing to fight inside in the centre of the ring. The tall order now facing the Uzbek was not made easier by his decision to remain fighting as he had the previous two rounds. Not raising his work rate or changing his method of attack allowed Ramirez to remain fighting in short range, leaning back to make Akhmadaliev miss and countering him with good scoring punches.

The Cuban began to glide around the ring in the middle of the round before comfortably resuming his position toe to toe with the Uzbek in the final minute. The highly impressive and skillful performance of Ramirez was punctuated by peppering punches around nd through the guard of the number two seed who was outclassed in all aspects of the sport.

The judges agreed, scoring it unanimously in the Cuban’s favour and usher him into the final bout against USA’s Shakur Stevenson.

Shakur Stevenson, the 19 year old two time Golden Glove and arguably the brightest star of the US Olympic boxing team takes a walk over victory against Russia’s Nikitin in the semi final of the bantamweight competition.

Shakur who stands out amongst his competition by boxing supremely, looking comfortable in all facets of the sport and boxing with such ease t times as to make his opponents look far outclassed in comparison. He was set to be face up against the contrasting style of the hard-nosed Russian who had through hook, or by crook, worked his way into a semi final bout by taking a victory of Irish number one seed Michael Conlan, sustaining two injuries on his head in the process.

The injuries caused him throughout the competition forced the doctor to disallow his continuation and hence left Shakur Stevenson walking into the Bantamweight final against Robeisy Ramirez after only two bouts and no punches thrown in the semi-final.

The final takes place Saturday the 20th at 18:15 GMT.

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