As we mentioned earlier, Kazakhstan welterweight Daniyar Yeleussinov was fighting to make some history today, as he aimed to become the fourth straight boxer — all of them different — to win Olympic gold for his country in the men’s 69kg division.
He did so, outclassing Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov with a three-round decision victory, making Kazakhstan the first country to ever win four consecutive gold medals in the same division, with four different fighters.
The only other country to win four straight golds in the same class was Cuba, with a heavyweight gold medal run from 1992-2004, featuring three gold medals for the great Félix Savon (whose nephew, Erislandy, took bronze this year), and a 2004 gold for Odlanier Solis in Athens.
Yeleussinov, 25, follows countrymen Bakhtiyar Artayev, Bakhyt Sarsekbayev, and Serik Sapiyev. Both Artayev and Sapiyev also won the Val Barker Trophy, awarded to the boxer perceived to be the very best among all weight classes in the Olympic Games. Yeleussinov will be in that discussion, as well. He dominated Giyasov, 23, for the opening two rounds, before the Uzbek won the third with a great final charge, a respectable last ditch effort to do something spectacular.
Yeleussinov came into the Olympics as the No. 2 seed in the welterweight division, receiving a round of 32 bye. He defeated Great Britain’s Josh Kelly in the round of 16, Venezuela’s Gabriel Maestre in the quarterfinals, and Souleymane Cissokho of France in his semifinal bout.
Giyasov had a tremendous run of his own, knocking off Youba Sissokho of Spain, then No. 5 seed Eimantas Stanionis of Lithuania, No. 4 seed Roniel Iglesias of Cuba, and then No. 1 seed Mohamed Rabii of Morocco.
Bronze medals, of course, went to Rabii of Morocco and Cissokho of France.