Lomachenko stuns featherweight world champ Selimov
BEIJING (AP) Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine rallied to beat featherweight world champion Albert Selimov of Russia 14-7 Monday, putting several brash flourishes on the best fight of the Olympic tournament so far.
An unlikely draw put the world's top two featherweights together in the first round, with the 20-year-old Lomachenko forced to take on Selimov, who beat him in the world championship finals last November in Chicago.
Both fighters showed talent several notches above their peers at Workers' Gymnasium, including victorious American Raynell Williams. But Lomachenko boxed 2½ nearly perfect rounds to finish the bout, showing flair and smarts while handing Russia its first loss of the Olympics.
A large Russian delegation of teammates and officials gave vocal support to Selimov, who took a 5-2 lead early in the second round with quicker hands. Lomachenko then opened up his attack with a flourish, incredibly scoring 11 consecutive points by the close of the third round.
Lomachenko bobbed around the ring with superior speed that anticipated Selimov's every move. Midway through the third round, Lomachenko ran to a neutral corner and saucily beckoned Selimov forward with a wave, then popped Selimov with a punch to his already bloodied nose.
Selimov lost his composure and didn't score again until midway through the final round, his confidence obviously shot. Selimov threw halfhearted punches at Lomachenko after the final two bells, and he refused to shake Lomachenko's hand afterward.
Lomachenko's path to the final gets only slightly easier in the second round against Bahodirjon Sultonov of Uzbekistan, another serious medal contender who beat India's Anthresh Lakra.
Williams easily won his opener, 9-1 over Italy's Alessio di Savino, to improve the U.S. team to 3-1 before lightweight Sadam Ali's evening bout.
Williams, a 19-year-old aspiring accountant from Cleveland, was too quick with both his hands and feet, dancing circles around di Savino and landing just enough punches to win easily.
"That's what I'm trying to do - not get hit," Williams said. "I just worked on things. He came in there a little weird and I had to get adjusted, but once I did, it was a good fight from there."
Alexey Tishchenko, Russia's gold-medal featherweight in Athens, opened his attempt to add a lightweight gold to his collection with a 10-2 win over Tunisia's Saifeddine Nejmaoui.
Tishchenko, who has a day job as a professor of boxing at a university back home in Siberia, lost a semifinal bout at last year's world championships to Britain's Frankie Gavin, who declared himself out of the Olympics last Thursday because he couldn't make weight.
Tishchenko could become just the fourth boxer in Olympic history to win gold medals in two weight classes, joining Hungary's Laszlo Papp, Cuba's Angel Herrera and American Oliver Kirk, who won at both 115 and 125 pounds in Olympic boxing's debut in St. Louis in 1904.
China sent its third boxer into the second round when featherweight Yang Li easily beat Brazil's Robson Conceicao 12-4, and Cuba's youthful team stayed unbeaten with lightweight Yordenis Ugas' 21-3 win over Hamza Kramou of Algeria.