Cuba’s Arlen Lopez won his second Olympic gold medal on Wednesday as he taught Britain’s Ben Whittaker a boxing lesson in the final of the men’s light-heavyweight in Tokyo.
The 28-year-old Lopez, who won middleweight gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, was surprisingly only a split-points winner, having been the aggressor and clearly better boxer throughout the three rounds.
Lopez fell to his knees and banged on the floor when he was named the victor, while Whittaker quickly left the ring with his hands over his face.
The 24-year-old Whittaker jigged his way into the ring at Kokugikan Arena, better known as the home of sumo, Japan’s national sport.
But the more experienced Lopez had the Briton dancing to his tune from the first round, stalking Whittaker around the ring.
Lopez beckoned his opponent onto him, feeling that Whittaker was being too defensive, and a member of the British squad in the mostly empty arena shouted at his team-mate to “show no respect”.
Lopez, a former world champion in middleweight, led through two rounds of the scheduled three on the judges’ scorecards and the only surprise was that he was not awarded the bout on unanimous points.
Cuba, a powerhouse of Olympic boxing, have now won two of the three gold medals in the sport so far in Tokyo. The other went to Japan.
On Tuesday, welterweight Roniel Iglesias added his name to Cuba’s rich Olympic boxing history after winning the welterweight final, again against a British fighter.
It was his third Olympic medal — to go with a London 2012 gold and bronze in Beijing 2008.
In the women’s competition Wednesday, there was disappointment for India’s Lovlina Borgohain in the welterweight semi-finals.
She was well beaten by Turkey’s flamboyant Busenaz Surmeneli, who will face China’s Gu Hong in the final for gold on Saturday.
The 23-year-old Borgohain will still take home bronze, equalling the achievement of India’s trailblazing “Magnificent” Mary Kom, a London 2012 bronze medallist and national treasure back home.