Uzbekistan is situated in Central Asia with a population of nearly 31 million people, became the top at 2016 Rio Olympic Games in terms of men's boxing by earning seven medals including 4 gold medals followed by the most famous boxing team, Cuban boxing team who gained 6 medals.
After this successful participation at Rio 2016, Uzbekistan has become a country of boxing and led to boxing to get more popular sports around the country as well. So far, Uzbekistan has gained four Olympic gold, two silver and seven medals in men's boxing.
Back to the history
1996 Atlanta Olympic Games
First Uzbekistan started to take part in Summer Olympic Games as an independent country in 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games where Karim Tulaganov provided the first Olympic medal in men's light-middleweight for Uzbekistan for the first time.
In 2000, Uzbekistan earned its first men's gold medal gained by Muhammadkodir Abdullaev who defated Puerta Rican Miguel Angel Cotto in the final bout at light-welterweight in 2000 Sydney Olympics.
2004 Athens Olympic Games
In the next Olympics was held in Athens, Uzbekistan participated with nine boxers and four of them who arrived in the round of 16 with five victories and four byes.
Three more barely missed medalling by being defeated in the quarterfinals. But, Bahodirjon Sultonov at Bantamweight and Utkirbek Haydarov at Light heavyweight had won their quarterfinal bouts both lost in the semifinals to secure bronze medals.
2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Later there was an unsuccessful participation with 7 boxers in 2008 Beijing Olympic Games where none of them earned any medals in boxing overall.
2012 London Olympic Games
In 2012, only Abbos Atoev managed to provide a bronze medal (middleweight) in men's boxing in London Olympic Games.
He gained its first victory over Romania’s Bogdan Juratoni in the round of 16. In quarterfinals, Atoev eliminated Vijender from India and secured an Olympic medal at least. However, Uzbekistan's boxer was defeated by Ryota Murata representing Japan in the way of final bout.
2016 Rio Olympic Games
2016 Rio Olympic Games was really victorious international tournament for Uzbekistan’s athletes. In men’s boxing, Uzbekistan’s Boxers gained seven medals overall; three gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
First of all, Uzbekistan's Hasanboy Dusmatov won the men's light flyweight gold medal in Olympic boxing at light flyweight. It was the first gold medals after Muhammadkodir Abdullaev’s success in 2000 Sydney. He beat Colombia's Yuberjen Herney Martinez Rivas in a final in Rio de Janeiro.
Dusmatov cleanly took each of the first two rounds, so he headed into the third and final period only needing to avoid some sort of massive Martinez comeback. That didn't happen, and the Uzbek earned his gold. He earlier beat American Nico Hernández in a semifinal to set up his successful shot at gold.
Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan won gold in the men's flyweight boxing with a unanimous points victory over twice world champion and 2012 bronze medallist Misha Aloyan of Russia.
The Uzbek boxer survived an early scare in the first round when he sustained a cut to the head, but in the end edged a close-fought contest. He was quick to pay tribute to Aloyan who had pushed him all the way.
The light welterweight gold medal, along with the flyweight and light flyweight gold medals, is going back with the Uzbekistan's another boxer, as Fazliddin Gaibnazarov picked up the country’s third boxing gold medal with a split decision win over Lorenzo Sotomayor of Azerbaijan.
Gaibnazarov, 25, is a two-time Olympian, fighting in London, but coming up short in the quarterfinals there. This year, he defeated Congo’s Dival Malonga, India’s Manoj Kumar, Gary Antuanne Russell of the United States, and top-seeded Vitaly Dunaytsev of Russia in his route of the gold medal match.
Similarly, two other Uzbek boxers showed the best performances in men’s boxing except the missing gold medals in final bouts of 2016 Rio Olympics.
The preliminaries were so successful for Shakhram Giyasov, who eliminated both Spaniard Ndiaye Sissokho and Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis by unanimous decision respectively at welterweight. In quarterfinals which provides Olympic medal at least, Shakhram Giyasov beat Cuban Roniel Iglesias in three rounds and secured a place in the semifinals who was continue of Uzbek boxers’ fantastic story in Rio 2016.
In semifinals, Giyasov stunned his opponent Moroccan Mohammed Rabii with a 3-0 score and celebrated his another victory as a football legend, Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo.
Unfortunately, he eliminated by Daniyar Yeleussinov, who became the nominee of AIBA Best Elite Men Boxer 2016 later, by unanimous decision in final bout and awarded with silver medal was the first Olympic silver medal for Uzbekistan in boxing.
At middleweight, Bektemir Melikuziev started his trip in 2016 Rio Olympics with beating Australian Daniel Jason Lewis by unanimous decision in the round of 16. In quarterfinals, Uzbek “iron” stunned his opponent, Krishan Vikas from India by unanimous decision. In the way of the gold medal, Melikuziev squared off against Mexico’s Misael Uziel Rodriguez and eliminated him by unanimous decision.
In the final bout, Bektemir Melikuiev faced off with world champion Arlen Lopez and lost the gold medal according to a unanimous decision as he gained the second silver medal for Uzbekistan in Rio de Janiero.
Rustam Tulaganov and Murodjon Akhmadaliev
Also, Uzbekistan boxing team gained two bronze medals with contributions of Rustam Tulaganov at Heavyweight (91kg) and Murodjon Akhmadaliev at Bantamweight (56 kg).
Apart from Summer Olympic Games, Uzbekistan boxers had already begun their journey in men’s World Championships in Finland in 1993. And Uzbekistan men's boxing team gathered 30 medals overall: five gold, ten silver, and fifteen bronze medals in World Boxing Championships so far.
Written by TheSokhibov