Tokyo Olympics: USA boxing men's gold drought rolls over to Paris 2024

By Sports Desk August 08, 2021

Keyshawn Davis and Richard Torrez Jr could not end the USA's long wait for a men's Olympic boxing gold medallist, meaning the drought will reach 20 years by the time Paris 2024 rolls around.

On the final day of Tokyo 2020, there were high hopes that lightweight Davis and super heavyweight Torrez Jr could top the podium at the Kokugikan Arena.

Yet Davis lost on a split decision to Cuba's Andy Cruz in his final, and Torrez Jr was thwarted by Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov.

The two silver medals mean Andre Ward's light heavyweight gold at Athens in 2004 remains the last time an American man landed boxing glory in the Games. 

A devastated Torrez Jr said: "I feel like I had the world in my hands, and it slipped. And I watched it fall and break, and I'm trying to pick up the pieces.

"I've been on the medal podium before, and it's one of the best and worst feelings to ever feel. To not have that flag raised, to not have that anthem played, to sit there and one guy is crying tears of the joy, the other sadness. When you are in that position it's really tough. So maybe one day I'll look back and say I did a good job, because I do believe I did a good job, but it's tough.

"This is one of the most bittersweet moments I've ever felt."

The 22-year-old said the US men "fought their heart out" in Tokyo, with each man mindful and perhaps burdened by the unusually long wait for a place on the top step of the podium.

"I think overall as a team, we are putting boxing back into the USA. I do believe that we are giving it a surge again," Torrez Jr added. "I believe it's coming, I really do. I'm sorry I couldn't be the one to do it, but I have pride and I have belief in my country."

Davis was somewhat less lyrical in reflecting on his loss, saying of his experience in Japan: "It was something I never experienced before. Putting my professional career on hold to complete something, this is the hardest in the world to complete. I came up a little short, but leaving this tournament I'm a completely different fighter.

"I'm glad I got to experience what I experienced at this Olympics, and it's something I will remember for the rest of my life."


HOLMES WHERE THE HEART IS FOR PRICE

Great Britain's Lauren Price is a former international footballer and kickboxer who can now call herself an Olympic boxing champion.

The Welsh middleweight beat China's Li Qian on a unanimous verdict, even winning all three rounds with four of the five judges, and the 27-year-old revealed her inspiration came from the Athens Olympics.

British track star Kelly Holmes won 800 metres and 1,500m gold medals in the Greek capital, delivering on years of promise and effort at the highest level in athletics, and a watching Price was inspired.

"I've got to say today tops anything I've ever done in my career. It's been a dream of mine since I was eight years old watching Kelly Holmes win that gold," Price said.

"I've always said I didn't know how I was going to get here and what sport I was going to do, but the dream has always been to get to the Olympic Games.

"To win gold is just the icing on the cake and I can't really put into words what it means to me right now."


HARRINGTON CLEANS UP

Irish lightweight Kellie Anne Harrington fended off Brazilian Beatriz Ferreira to land gold in the first fight of the day, then promised she would soon be back to her cleaning job at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

The 31-year-old said: "I’m an Olympic champion but it doesn't define me as a person. At home, I'd say it will be a bit mental, but I will be going back to work in two or three weeks. I'll be back at work, back doing my normal thing, that's what keeps me grounded.

"My circle [of friends] is very small and it will be staying very small. I'm going to just keep doing what I do. Nothing will change. I won't start thinking I'm something that I'm not. This is me. I will continue to be this way - except I'll have my gold medal.

"I'll get home, have a break, eat loads of pizza. I'm sure there will be a little party in work for me and I'll be bringing my medal there."

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