Newcomer Sousa wins gold for Brazil with stunning last-gasp knockout
TOKYO—Unheralded Brazilian Hebert Sousa won the Olympic middleweight boxing gold on Saturday with a stunning third-round knockout of Ukrainian Oleksandr Khyzhniak, turning around a fight he had all but lost to win Brazil’s second-ever Games gold in the sport.
Khyzhniak had the edge in the fight with quick and big punches but Sousa, who has no championship titles to his name, fought hard to stay in the match and from nowhere unleashed a fierce left that sent his opponent to the floor.
Sousa immediately burst into wild celebration, falling to his knees and screaming out into the arena as a shaken Khyzhniak got back on his feet, staggering, and demanded the fight continue as the Brazilian team rejoiced.
Khyzhniak beat Filipino bet Eumir Marcial, who claimed bronze, in the semifinal.
Britain’s Galal Yafai and Bulgaria’s Stoyka Zhelyazkova Krasteva won first boxing golds for their countries at the Tokyo Olympics after dominant displays in their flyweight finals.
Reigning Commonwealth champion Yafai won on a split decision against Filipino Carlo Paalam in the men’s match.
A two-time bantamweight runner-up in worlds, 35-year-old Krasteva finally got her gold, showing her experience across the three rounds to deny Buse Naz Cakiroglu, 10 years her junior, Turkey’s first-ever boxing Olympic title.
Cakiroglu trailed after the first round and switched tactics in the second, moving from front foot to back foot to try to reverse the advantage but Krasteva stayed strong.
Krasteva, who fought in the 2012 London Games, came out of retirement in 2018 to try to finish her career with an Olympic medal and walked around the arena celebrating, holding aloft her national flag.
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