The Olympics are finally upon us and, more importantly, the Olympic boxing is about to begin. In this article we will be previewing the top three contenders in each of the heavyweight divisions – light heavyweight, heavyweight, super heavyweight – along with recapping the events of London 2012.
London 2012 saw Oleksandr Usyk defeat Clemente Russo in a close punch-for-punch final. The then 25-year-old Ukrainian slaughtered his way to the gold medal, with the Italian boxing well to try and stop Usyk from an easy win. Since turning pro towards the end of 2013 – signing with the Klitschko brothers’ organisation, K2 Promotions – Usyk has gone 9-0 with a WBO cruiserweight title fight pencilled in for September of this year.
Here are the top three heavyweight contenders for the 2016 Olympics.
Levit is a 6’2’’ 28-year-old pugilist from Kazakhstan who is rated for his seemingly endless engine and fast combinations – for a heavyweight. The Kazakh went undefeated in the recent fifth season of the World Series of Boxing and is expected to do well at these Olympics – coming in as third favourite prior to the preliminaries.
One of the 11 Russian boxers cleared to partake in the Rio Olympics; Tischenko also comes in as a very highly rated contender. Over the last couple of years, the 6’5’’ Russian has simply been adding accolade after accolade to his impressive record.
In 2014, Evgeny Tischenko won the Russian National championships by defeating the reigning European champion; and in 2015 he moved on to put in a solid contest at the European championships, before taking gold at the World championships.
The 25-year-old is a calculating southpaw, who has an extremely powerful and dangerous left hook, one that could see him winning gold in the new ten-point scoring format – like what they use to score professional boxing.
Erislandy Savon Cotilla
Another mighty Cuban to top the favourites in the heavyweight divisions, Savon is back and ready to rumble after an unlucky end to his 2012 Olympics campaign. Fighting in the super heavyweight division four years ago, Savon was unlucky enough to draw eventual gold medallist Anthony Joshua in the first round. To be fair, the Cuban gave the Englishman a tremendous run for his money, managing to clock in multiple tags to the head and out-boxing him as a whole, but Joshua ultimately prevailed which, dare I say it, was an injustice at the time.
Now 26-years-old Savon will look to capitalise on his increased power and stronger game whilst he moves down a weight division. He should prove to be a complete mismatch for almost any fighter who is drawn against him.
Having said that, he was trumped at the 2015 World Championships by the 6’5’’ Russian, Evgeny Tischenko. Mind you, Radio Guantanimo reports that Erislandy Savon was suffering from a pretty bad hand injury at the time, and so it was impressive to see him make the final.
Who do you think will win in the heavyweight divisions? Let us know by commenting below.