Brazil loses gold medal hope Lopes
LONDON (Reuters) – Brazil lost their main hope of winning boxing gold at the London Games on Saturday when world amateur light-welterweight champion Everton dos Santos Lopes was eliminated in his opening bout by Beijing bronze medalist Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo of Cuba.
Lopes became the first Brazilian to win a world championship title last year but he was comprehensively outboxed and outsmarted by the taller, quicker Cuban, who picked him off with sharp one-two combinations to take the first round by a point and the second by three.
Unable to get near Sotolongo, the 23-year-old Brazilian admitted it was too late by the time he changed his approach in the final round, winning it by one point after trying to land more right than left hand shots.
“I knew he was a very good opponent. When I saw I was losing I tried to change my technique to win but it wasn’t enough at the time. I should have done it before,” Lopes told reporters.
“I wasn’t expecting to fight him (so early in the competition) because I know he’s so strong but I did my best to try. I know what we (Brazil) have to do is to try because we are good and we know we are good.”
With the 2016 Rio Games on the horizon, Brazil had high hopes for Lopes in London, and will now hope the three men and three women left in the competition will add to the country’s one and only Olympic boxing medal.
Sotolongo, who won Olympic bronze at the age of 19 in a disappointing Games for Cuba four years ago, next faces Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan in Wednesday’s quarter-final.
As both losing semi-finalists get a bronze in Olympic boxing, Sotolongo would at least guarantee matching his Beijing result with a win.