For many years, Crew USA was the standard-bearer of Olympic boxing, a manufacturing facility of future heavyweight champions regardless of the burden class.
Floyd Paterson gained middleweight gold on the 1952 Helsinki Video games earlier than capturing the heavyweight championship. Eight years later, Cassius Clay claimed gentle heavyweight gold in Rome and went on to change into Muhammad Ali. Extra gold adopted at heavyweight in every of the following two Video games: Joe Frazier in Tokyo (1964) and George Foreman in Mexico Metropolis (1968).
Corridor of Fame fighters like brothers Leon and Michael Spinks, Pernell Whitaker and Oscar De La Hoya continued the gold rush into the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. Andre Ward, one other Corridor of Famer, carried it into the 2000s, however all has been quiet over the past 17 years. No American man has gained gold since Ward in 2004, although on the ladies’s facet, Claressa Shields gained gold in 2012 and 2016 whereas Marlen Esparza took bronze in 2012.
Now, three males are on the cusp of ending the drought: Keyshawn Davis, Richard Torrez Jr., and Duke Ragan.
“Would not that be great?” Foreman advised ESPN concerning the prospect of the American males claiming gold in Tokyo. “Nothing however nice reminiscences, it was an entire great expertise, since you hear so many issues, however when you’re there, you are overtaken by the spirit of the Olympics, I can inform you that. Overtaken.”
Ragan, a 23-year-old Cincinnati native, has the primary crack at successful gold after defeating Ghana’s Samuel Takyi on Monday to advance to the featherweight last. Ragan (4-0, 1 KO within the execs) meets Russia’s Albert Batyrgaziev on Thursday (2:35 a.m. ET) with gold on the road.
Torrez and Davis are each assured of bronze, every one win away from their respective finals. Torrez, a 22-year-old from Tulare, California, fights Kazakhstan’s Kamshybek Kunkabayev on Tuesday at 2:18 a.m. On the opposite facet of the bracket is the match favourite, Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov, going through off with Nice Britain’s Frazer Clarke. The winners will vie for gold Sunday at 2:15 a.m.
Then there’s Davis, the 3-0 professional seen as a future champion. The 22-year-old scored a stoppage to advance to the quarterfinal, then outpointed Russia’s Gabil Mamedov on Monday. The Norfolk, Virginia, native fights Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov on Friday (1:32 a.m.) within the light-weight semifinal.
Cuba’s Andy Cruz, who’s 3-0 vs. Davis within the amateurs, fights Australia’s Harry Garside within the different Friday semifinals matchup. Regardless of Cruz’s dominance, Davis is assured his time within the professional ranks will give him the sting in a possible fourth assembly.
“These guys cannot beat me,” Davis advised ESPN earlier than the match began. “I am the very best within the match. … If I do not wanna get hit, you are not going to hit me.”
That is really the primary time Crew USA has allowed execs to compete within the Olympics, spurred by the COVID-caused cancellation of the Americas Olympic Boxing Qualifying Occasion that was scheduled for Might in Buenos Aires.
Three execs — Davis, Ragan and Troy Isley — joined the group in Tokyo. The trio had been set to symbolize Crew USA in Japan final summer time however when the pandemic delayed the Olympics, all of them determined to show professional. Now two of them, together with one beginner in Torrez, have the chance to finish this nation’s fistic distress.
Three probabilities to finish the drought. Absolutely one among them will proceed the nice custom legendary fighters like Ali and Foreman constructed earlier than them. The wait may quickly be over.