Cuba’s Julio la Cruz wins Olympic heavyweight gold


Tokyo (AFP) – Cuba’s Julio la Cruz, who was shot during a robbery just a few years ago, won his second Olympic gold on Friday with victory in the heavyweight boxing final.

The 31-year-old defeated Russia’s Muslim Gadzhimagomedov on unanimous points to add the Tokyo title to his Rio 2016 light-heavyweight crown.

La Cruz, a four-time world champion at light-heavyweight, was held up by armed robbers in 2014 in Cuba and shot in the hip. 

The boxer, who has credited doctors with saving his career, collapsed flat on his back in the ring when his victory was announced.

In the men’s lightweight semi-finals, there was disappointment for Australia’s Harry Garside, a certified plumber who is also into his ballet and sported painted fingernails after his bout in the quarter-finals.

The 24-year-old lost on unanimous points to Cuba’s impressive Andy Cruz, but Garside still takes home bronze — Australia’s first Olympic boxing medal in 33 years. 

Cruz goes up against Keyshawn Davis, with the talented American one win away from securing a first men’s Olympic boxing gold for the USA since Andre Ward in 2004. 

In the women’s middleweight, Britain’s Lauren Price — who is also a footballer who has represented Wales — narrowly defeated Dutch boxer Nouchka Fontijn on split points and will face China’s Li Qian for gold.

With two more days of boxing left in Tokyo, Cuba have won three golds in the sport, the Russians one and Japan one. Eight more titles remain to be decided.

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