Ukrainian boxer Lomachenko dismantles another foe
BEIJING (AP) Vasyl Lomachenko made another elite amateur boxer look just plain amateurish.
The Ukrainian dynamo trounced his second medal-caliber opponent in two fights at the Olympic tournament Friday. Moving and slugging with equal verve, the featherweight favorite beat Uzbekistan's Bahodirjon Sultonov 13-1 in an afternoon session featuring two more victories for surprising China and solid wins by Russian and Cuban boxers.
But the star of Workers' Gymnasium after seven days of boxing has been Lomachenko, who began his run Monday with a masterful victory over Russian world champion Albert Selimov. The unfortunate draw then matched Lomachenko with Sultonov, who won bronze at bantamweight in Athens in 2004 - but Lomachenko has been far too good at any weight.
The Ukrainian bears a striking resemblance to veteran NBA point guard Jason Williams, and his fighting style also has a bit of Williams' razzle-dazzle. Lomachenko took an 8-0 lead before Sultonov scored his first point, repeatedly showing quicker hands and better movement.
Lomachenko finished the bout with a flourish, knocking Sultonov onto his back with a perfectly placed left hand with 45 seconds left. Clean knockdowns in amateur boxing are rare, but so is the talent of the Ukrainian who did it.
Lomachenko's next fight will be against China's Li Yang, who added another victory to the hosts' surprising haul by holding off Ecuador's Luis Porozo 6-5. Porozo, who fell behind early, flung his mouthpiece out of the ring after the final bell, and he made a thumbs-down gesture when the referee raised Li's hand.
"I think it's unfair," said Porozo, who trailed 6-3 entering the final round. "I don't agree with the judges, but I have to respect their decision and learn from this."
Lightweight Hu Qing also advanced with an 11-7 win over Kazakhstan's Merey Akshalov, who went passive after leading 6-4 through two rounds. Hu rolled off four straight points against his 20-year-old opponent, who then got caught being too eager.
China has seven boxers still in the tournament amid complaints from a handful of fighters about judges favoring the home nation. Ukraine filed an unsuccessful protest over the results of Hu's first victory over Oleksandr Klyuchko.
Russian lightweight Alexey Tishchenko stopped his powerful nation's slide with an 11-3 win over Australia's Anthony Little. Russia, considered the overall favorite, has just six boxers left in the Olympic field, but they include two world champions and Tishchenko, a featherweight gold medalist in Athens who moved up 7 pounds for Beijing.
"He's got a totally different style, and he just had me covered from the word go, actually," said Little, a two-time Olympian who announced his retirement.
Cuba kept nine boxers in the tournament with lightweight Yordenis Ugas' 10-2 victory over Italy's Domenico Valentino.
Although Cuba has no returning gold medalists for the first time in at least 16 years, only one of its 10 boxers has lost yet. Bantamweight Yankiel Leon and featherweight Idel Torriente will fight in the evening session.