Lauren Price was tasked with avenging a past amateur defeat in order to win out the women’s middleweight division.
The number-one seed rose to the occasion, earning a three-round unanimous decision over China’s Li Qian to provide Great Britain with its second Gold medal in the Toyko Olympics. Scores were 30-27 on four cards and 29-28 on the fifth, all in favor of Price in their middleweight final Sunday afternoon at Kokugikan Arena.
Nouchka Fontijn (Finland) and Zemfira Magomedalieva (ROC) both take home Bronze following their respective semifinal exits.
Price was in control throughout their three-round affair, beating the taller Li to the punch and using constant in and out movement to control the tempo. Revenge was partially on the mind, with Price having dropped a decision earlier in her career to the well-established Li in 2014. It was a different battle on Sunday, with Price and Li entering as the number-one and number-two seeds, respectively.
Li is known for her extraordinary ability to adapt to and mimic her opponent’s style, as exhibited in her semifinal win over Magomedalieva. That didn’t play with Price, who jumped out to a clean sweep on the cards in the opening round and employed a stick and move style to throw off Li in claiming four of the five cards in round two.
With an insurmountable lead, Price just had to finish on her feet and without a point deduction to win. As learned one night prior in the men’s middleweight division, one punch could change everything. Hebert Sousa did just that in claiming Gold with a bailout knockout of Oleksandr Khyzhniak after trailing by the same margins that faced Li heading into the final three minutes.
Price didn’t leave anything to chance, outboxing Li throughout to sweep the round and all five cards in the end.
The outcome marks the first time that United States does not claim Gold—or a medal—since women’s middleweight was introduced to the Olympics. The division belonged to Claressa Shields, who won both Gold medals in 2012 London and 2016 Rio, the only American boxer in history to win back-to-back Gold medals in an Olympics game involving international competition.
Price is the last of six medalists for Great Britain, tied with ROC for the most in the Tokyo Olympics. Her performance in the final also gives Great Britain a Tokyo-best 25 wins in 33 fights.
Qian improves upon her Bronze medal haul in the 2016 Rio Olympics, though falls just short of bringing home the first Gold medal for China’s powerhouse women’s boxing.
Great Britain now has three Gold medals in women’s boxing since 2012. Price joins Nicola Adams as the only nation’s only other female boxer to do so, with Adams claiming back-to-back Gold medals at women’s flyweight in 2012 London and 2016 Rio.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox