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Sapiyev Edges Lomachenko For Val Barker Trophy

By Jake Donovan

Serik Sapiyev’s decisive points win over Great Britain’s Freddie Evans on Sunday gave Kazakhstan its third straight Gold medal in Olympic welterweight competition. 

His overall body of work in the 2012 London Games gave the nation its third Val Barker Trophy recipient in a span of five Olympic seasons.

Sapiyev’s 17-9 win over Evans capped a brilliant run in which he never trailed at any point of the competition. His closest win was by six points, which came in Friday’s semifinals win over Andrey Zamkovoy of Russia. 

Included among his four wins was a 25-11 romp of Japan’s Yasuhiro Suzuki of Japan in the welterweight Round of 16 on August 3. Sapiyev set two separate divisional high marks for this year’s competition, scoring more points (25) than any other fighter in a single welterweight bout as well as producing the widest margin of victory (14 points).

The overall body of work was enough to edge out the previous winner, Vasyl Lomachenko of Ukraine. 

Four years after capturing top Olympic honors following his destruction of the featherweight division in the 2008 Beijing Games, Lomachenko was just as dominant in this year’s lightweight competition. His Gold medal-winning performance – a 19-9 win over Soon-Chul Han – was the most lopsided of any of the 13 divisional finals in men and women’s competition. 

Also considered for the honor were Cuba’s pair of Gold medal winners, light welterweight Roniel Iglesias and 18-year old flyweight Robeisy Ramirez. Both fighters earned their prize the hard way, having to win five fights in their respective divisions. Iglesias and Ramirez were the only two Gold medal winners among the men to have not entered the competition as a seeded fighter. 

Sapiyev was the number two seed in the welterweight field after having come up just short in last year’s World Amateur welterweight championships. The only thing he wasn’t able to accomplish in the 2012 London Games was avenging that defeat, but only because top seed Taras Shelestyuk of Kazakhstan was eliminated by Evans in the semifinals on Friday evening.

Still, his run as a whole was enough cause to bang his chest in triumph. Instead, he was humbled by the achievements earned in his second Olympic tour.

"I am very glad to be here and this victory is for (all) of Kazakhstan. I have been waiting for this moment for so long,” Sapiyev said in a statement. “In Beijing I lost in the quarterfinals but was resolute as my attention immediately turned to these next Olympics.”

Sapiyev joins Bahltiyar Artayev (2004, Athens) and Vassiliy Jirov (1996, Atlanta) as Kazakhstan fighters to claim top honors in Olympic boxing competition. Artayev also began the run for Kazakhstan’s dominance in claiming three straight Gold medals in the welterweight division.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by HeroBando on 08-12-2012

[QUOTE=ksan;12421867]Usyk, Lomachenko, Sapiyev, Russo, Valentino, Medzhidov, Pulev, etc. And lots more from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazaks, Italians, all of the Ukraine medallists, etc, etc. And they are trying to convince the [B]Cuban[/B] Boxing Federation and the Goverment of Cuba, to…

Comment by Freedom2111 on 08-12-2012

Sapiyev deserves it. He performed consistently well in all of his fights.

Comment by Hougigo on 08-12-2012

[QUOTE=ksan;12421867]Usyk, Lomachenko, Sapiyev, Russo, Valentino, Medzhidov, Pulev, etc. And lots more from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazaks, Italians, all of the Ukraine medallists, etc, etc. And they are trying to convince the [B]Cuban[/B] Boxing Federation and the Goverment of Cuba, to…

Comment by onechance87 on 08-12-2012

[QUOTE=ksan;12421867]Usyk, Lomachenko, Sapiyev, Russo, Valentino, Medzhidov, Pulev, etc. And lots more from countries like Azerbaijan, Kazaks, Italians, all of the Ukraine medallists, etc, etc. [B]And they are trying to convince the [B]Cuban[/B] Boxing Federation and the Goverment of Cuba, to…

Comment by ksan on 08-12-2012

[QUOTE=hougigo;12421821]How many people did they freaking sign? Also I agree, Lomachenko cruised while Sapiyev gave everything he got.... think the least amount of points he won by was like 5..... strong showing by both men though.[/QUOTE] Usyk, Lomachenko, Sapiyev, Russo,…

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