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.
In what was perhaps the most influential part of the London 2012 Olympics – the pride of Britain – Anthony Joshua, won gold in the super heavyweight division to kick start a potentially amazing career that has sparked a revolution in British boxing. Joshua is now the IBF heavyweight champion, 17-0 with all 17 of those wins coming by way of knockout, and is in a three horse race to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. In his rise to stardom he has brought the British public into seeing the other immense talents in other weight divisions.
So, can any of these three top super heavyweights have the same impact on the professional boxing world?
This isn’t the Kazakh’s first Olympic Games. The giant 6’7’’ 25-year-old managed to bring back a bronze medal from London 2012, after losing in the semi finals to eventual champion Anthony Joshua. Over the last Olympiad, Dychko has managed to step up from bronze. He won: gold at the 2013 Asian championships, gold at the 2014 Asian Games, silver at the 2013 World Amateur championships, and silver at the 2015 World Amateur championships.
Now, four years on from the London Olympics, Dychko looks even more formidable and should mount a solid bid for the final this time around.
Tony Victor James Yoka
Tony Yoka was one of the top rated young boxers coming into the 2012 Olympics, having won silver at the 2010 World Youth championships and gold at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics, but he was ill-fated in London, losing in the round of 16 to Canadian Simon Kean despite drawing on points.
The 24-year-old Frenchman has put in a lot of solid performances coming into these Olympic Games, winning bronze at the European Games and then gold at the World Amateur championships.
On a side note, ‘The Artist’, as the 6’6’’ super heavyweight is nicknamed, is engaged to fellow French boxer Estelle Mossely and they have announced, via BoxeRing, that they will get married after the Summer games.
Joe Joyce took up boxing at 22 years of age due to injuries stopping him from too much participation in track and field sports. That was eight years ago. The now 30-year-old English-Brit can certainly be labelled as a late bloomer when it comes to his talents coming to the forefront of the amateur boxing world.
After winning gold at the Commonwealth games in 2014, he found success in the 2015 and ’16 seasons of the World Series of Boxing, whilst also winning gold at the 2015 European Games and bronze at the 2015 World Amateur championships – which brings about his beef with Tony Yoka.
In the semi finals of the aforementioned World championships, Joyce lost to Yoka on a “contentious” points decision, as stated by the Guardian, despite a big left hook from the Londoner almost ending the Frenchman’s night.
However, on Joyce’s way to gold at the European Championships he defeated Yoka in the semi finals. If the two favourites make the final in Rio it could make for one emphatic spectacle: Joyce vs. Yoka III.
Joe Joyce is a giant. There’s no other way to put it. He’s 6’6’’ and 110kg – 19kg above the minimum for the division – and says that he wants to finally start his pro career after these Olympics. Per Sky Sports, he’s been sparring with the last super heavyweight gold medallist, Anthony Joshua:
“I’ll be turning 31 after the Olympics so I need to start the pro road before it’s too late. I thought about going pro before, but my original goal was to get to the Olympics and I wanted to see that dream through.
“I spar Anthony Joshua and it’s good, competitive spars. We work well with each other and then there’s Frazer and Daniel Dubois in the mix as well.”
Hopefully the final will be Joe Joyce against Tony Yoka, if not it looks to be a fairly easy passage to the top of the podium for the big Brit.
Who do you think will win in the heavyweight divisions? Let us know by commenting below.