By Cliff Rold
24-year old 2012 U.S. National Amateur Champion Terrell Gausha scored the first stoppage of the London Olympics in a rousing opening round battle. Down one point on the cards going into the third and final round, Gausha dropped 20-year old Andranik Hakobyan twice late in the round to finish the contest.
Gausha came out aggressive in the first, popping the jab and slinging the right. As the round progressed, the rangier counter puncher Hakobyan began to time the American, picking his spots to come forward. A Hakobyan right may have been the difference late in the frame, the Armenian going to the corner ahead 4-3.
Gausha made hay with two big right hands in the first minute of round two. Hakobyan answered with rights over the top but Gausha was doing a better job blocking counter attempts with his gloves. Just past the midway point, Gausha chased Hakobyan with a series of left hook leads but in the final minute, his attack grew tentative as both men looked for openings. They each landed right hands in the closing seconds, the round scored 4-4.
Down one point with a round to go, Gausha struck with a left and right early in the third. He landed three more shots between the wild blows of Hakobyan, each man working at a frenzied pace, a solid left counter struck for Gausha and then a right and it appeared he may have done enough to edge ahead. Hakobyan held in the middle of the round for a lengthy period and both men were throwing in close with a minute to go. Hakobyan struck with a right and then went back to grappling to slow Gausha. Gausha landed a right but fell forward into the ropes.
Three more punches landed for Gausha and Hakobyan tied up again. Gassed, he never saw it coming when a right hand crashed to the chin after a pair of Gausha body shots. Dropped with eight seconds to go, Hakobyan took the referee’s eight count and was waved to continue. Gausha attacked right away, dropping Hakobyan again with the clock showing zero. Hakobyan beat the count, and the referee appeared to wave he could continue.
With both men standing at center ring, it turned out appearances had deceived, Gausha announced the victor on a referee’s stoppage.
Gausha commented on the advice he’d taken from his corner before the final round and remained level headed about the future. “They told me I had to be first and pick it up…I’m just taking it one day a time. I’m not done yet.”
Indeed he is not, now slated to face India’s 26-year old Vijender Singh on Thursday night. Singh was successful in his opening bout with a 14-10 decision over Danabek Suzhanov of Kazakhstan.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]