Cuba’s Arlen Lopez wins second Olympic gold, defeats Great Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker in light heavy final
There have been two men’s gold medals handed out so far at the Tokyo Olympics, and both have gone to Cuban boxers.
Cuba’s Arlen Lopez joined an elite list of multiple-time boxing gold medalists from his home nation of Cuba on Wednesday with a 4-1 victory over Great Britain’s Benjamin Whittaker to win the men’s light heavyweight gold medal at the Ryōgoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan.
The 28-year-old from Guantanamo, Cuba had won the middleweight gold at the Rio Games in 2016. Lopez says he spoke to his family after winning gold in Tokyo, and felt like a winner all over again.
“The sacrifice that I’ve made, the efforts that I’ve made, they’ve supported me. We’re here saluting our families,” said Lopez.
— Sara Smith (@sarasmith24feb) August 4, 2021
Lopez joined teammate Roniel Iglesias, plus Ariel Hernandez, Angel Herrera, Hector Vinent, Mario Kindelan, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Robeisy Ramirez on the list of Cuban boxers who have won two Olympic golds. Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon are the only Cubans to have won three Olympic golds.
Whittaker, who bronze at the 2019 World Championships, broke down in tears after losing the decision, storming from the ring in anguish. He later refused to put the silver medal around his neck, and instead stuff it in his pocket.
“I didn’t win the gold, I lost the gold so to me it’s a failure. I’m not going to celebrate silver at the moment,” said Whittaker.
“I’m sure in a couple of years I’ll look back and see what an achievement it is but, as of now, I can’t be happy with the silver. I wanted the gold medal.”
Two other Cubans are set for upcoming bouts as lightweight Andy Cruz will face Australia’s Harry Garside in the semifinals on Friday, and heavyweight Julio Cesar la Cruz, the 2016 light heavyweight gold medalist and a four-time world champion, will face Russia’s Muslim Gadzhimagomedov in the gold medal match, also on Friday.
Cuba, which has yet to have a female boxer compete at the Olympic Games, earned three golds and three bronzes at the 2016 Games, and two golds and two bronzes at the 2012 Games.
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