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Rio 2016 Olympics boxing: Kazakhstan's Yeleussinov fighting to make history

If Daniyar Yeleussinov wins gold later today in Rio, he’ll be part of something that has never been done before.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Later this afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, the men’s welterweight (69kg) gold medal will be on the line, as Daniyar Yeleussinov of Kazakhstan faces Shakhram Giyasov of Uzbekistan. The fight is significant on its own, of course, but also has a chance to be a history-making event.

If Yeleussinov wins, he will make it four straight gold medals for Kazakhstan in the welterweight class. This has only been done one other time, by Cuba at heavyweight from 1992-2004:

  • Barcelona 1992: Félix Savón
  • Atlanta 1996: Félix Savón
  • Sydney 2000: Félix Savón
  • Athens 2004: Odlanier Solis

That takes advantage of the dominant run of Félix Savón, of course, while Kazakhstan’s would be the first time a country has done this with four different boxers all winning gold in consecutive Olympics in the same weight class:

  • Athens 2004: Bakhtiyar Artayev
  • Beijing 2008: Bakhyt Sarsekbayev
  • London 2012: Serik Sapiyev

The list of countries that have done it three straight times in a single weight class is also a short one, and includes another three-time Cuban heavyweight gold medal legend:

  • Cuba, middleweight, 1992-2000 (Ariel Hernández 2x, Jorge Gutíerrez)
  • United States, light heavyweight, 1952-1960 (Norvel Lee, James Boyd, Muhammad Ali)
  • Cuba, heavyweight, 1972-1980 (Teófilo Stevenson 3x)

Kazakhstan’s welterweights are already in elite company, but a win today by Yeleussinov would achieve something that has never been done in Olympics boxing history.

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