Brazil’s Hebert Sousa may have landed THE punch of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, dropping and stopping Ukraine’s Oleksandr Khyzhniak about halfway into the third and final round to win men’s middleweight gold.
Sousa was down 20-18 on every card after two rounds, and the top-seeded Khyzhniak — who was looking like a strong Val Barker Trophy contender — probably could have cruised, protected his lead, and played keepaway in round three.
But that has not been Khyzhniak’s style at all, and it wasn’t here, either. The dangerous Sousa crushed the attacking Khyzhniak with a left hook on the button, and the Ukrainian boxer went down, getting up on unsteady legs. This is not the pros, where Khyzhniak might have been given a chance to continue, which obviously he wanted. Safety is paramount in the amateurs, and Khyzhniak was not on steady legs quickly. The referee stopped the contest, and Hebert Sousa’s stunning hook became a stunning gold medal.
Khyzhniak is still without question one of the top pro prospects we’ve seen in Tokyo, and Sousa just hugely upped his stock, too. The silver medal for Khyzhniak is actually Ukraine’s first since the London Games in 2012, when a strong team won five medals overall, including golds for Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk.
For Sousa, he’s the second boxing gold medalist in Brazil’s history, following Robson Conceicao’s lightweight win at Rio 2016.