Boxing has been a heritage of the USA in Olympic games going back over 100 years. The US statistics for medals has been staggering, delivering such amazing greats as Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier and George Foreman. Who watched the 1968 Olympics and does not remember George waving the American flag after winning his bout to take the Gold?!
Other American boxing champions have emerged from the Olympic stage demonstrating America’s great boxing heritage. Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar de la Hoya, and Ray Mercer are all greats that won Gold in their respective Olympics.
We noticed this year that the coverage in the Olympic Boxing events on television was non-existant. We couldn’t seem to find a single match being publicized on the news or on NBC’s coverage.
We decided to find out why, and we were discouraged when we did. It was the sad performance of the US Boxing team. We sent nine boxers to these Olympics; only one managed to medal, and that was for a Bronze. Deontay Wilder managed to get into a semi-final round against defending world champion, Italy’s Clemente Russo. Russo outclassed Wilder easily, taking the Gold. Three of our other boxers lost in their very first fight.
Even Rau’shee Warren lost in the flyweight class in his first bout against South Korea’s Lee Oksung. In a close decision, Warren lost 9-8, leaving him in tears instead of on the Olympic podium.
In another case, one of our US contenders didn’t even make the ring. Gary Russell Jr. passed out before the weigh-in and was disqualified. It was later determined he had dehydrated so much he lost consciousness. That is bad coaching, but the blame game is alive and well, and the coaches blamed Gary. They should have been on top of Russell all the way!! That is their job! How could they let a boxer that has trained for years pass out and later try to explain it away as his fault?? Were the coaches too busy downing Tsingtaos? Well that would explain why they didn’t get dehydrated themselves.
Some have blamed the judging, saying that the American style of boxing is out of fashion in the Olympics. Perhaps, but Gary didn’t even make it to the ring, and from what we could see of the matches we could dig up, the US just had no heart and no chance.
In five consecutive Olympics, the United States has won three Gold medals, a sad tally that cannot be easily explained. Prior to that, the US boxing team had consistently delivered strong results at the Olympics. From 1904 through 2004, US boxers have won 104 medals in boxing, more than any other country. America’s teams had also won 48 Gold medals. Again the most in the world!! All this despite our abysmal showing over the last 20 years. In 1976 the US won 7, 5 Gold. In 1984, 11, 9 Gold. In 1988, 7. In 2008, 1, a Bronze.
We are asking our readers for reasons. Please comment. Is this because the US has gotten lazy. Is it just horrible planning and coaching? Could the rest of the world have suddenly surpassed the entire US in boxing? We are at a loss, and unfortunately, so are our Olympics Boxers.
Deontay Wilder, the only US contingent in Boxing who garnered Bronze in the heavyweight (91kg/201lbs) fight with Mohammed Arjaoui of Morocco .
Demetrius Andrade, the reigning welterweight (69kg/152lbs) wold champion takes loss from South Korea’s Kim JungJoo Kim
Shawn Estrada lost in the quarterfinals to James Degale of Great Britain in the middleweight (75kg/165lbs) division.
Javier Molina lost in his first light welterweight (64kg/141lbs) bout against Bulgaria’s Boris Georgiev, 14-1.
Rau’shee Warren lost in his opening fight against South Korea’s Lee Oksung in the flyweight (51kg/112lbs)
Raynell Williams is defeated by Khedafi Djelkhir of France in his second fight in the featherweight (57kg/125lbs).
Luis Yanez lost to Serdamba Purevdorj of Mongolia in the light flyweight (48kg/106lbs) bout.
Gary Russell Jr didn’t even make it to fight in the bantamweight (54kg/119lbs) division as he collapsed from dehydration before the competition began.