Duke Ragan will get gold.
The first US professional boxer (4-0, 1KO) to ever win a fight at the Olympics continues to rewrite history in Tokyo. Cincinnatis Ragan moves up to the men’s featherweight gold medal after split decision overtaking Ghana’s Samuel Takyi.
Tayki won 29-28 on one card, overruled by 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 for Ragan in her featherweight semifinals on Tuesday at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Both boxers played to their strengths in the opening round. Takyi – who is five inches taller and has much greater reach – put out his long stab while trying to measure his right hand. Ragan’s superior indoor fights prevented the Ghanaian boxer from landing much consistency, while the Cincinnati were able to connect with a left counterhook. Takyi offered some excitement at the end of the round, perhaps the difference of winning the round on three of the five scorecards.
Billy Walsh, head coach of the US boxing team, told Ragan that the first round was over and that he had to win the rest of the fight. Taking advice, Ragan increased his punching power and let Takyi clinch inside after repeatedly missing with left hooks and wide right hands.
Ragan won the second round of four of the five judges, with the fight on the table going into the final three minutes for both boxers.
Takyi emptied his arsenal, sometimes landing with his right hand and wildly missing the mark on other occasions. Ragan stayed calm, connected with his overrand right and touched Takyi with his jab. Takyi overshot a right hand and was caught by a left hook on the way.
Ragan’s upswing was enough to see the fight on four of the five scorecards – and good enough to keep gold tracking.
The US team is now 15-6 in total and has secured four medals. Ragan takes his fourth overall victory in Tokyo, the best of all American boxers since Andre Ward’s path to gold in Athens in 2004.
Ragan is now one win away from ending the US men’s team’s 17-year gold medal drought. Next, he will meet Albert Batyrgaziev (ROC), who overtook three-time Olympic champion Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) in a split-decision victory in order to advance.
Your fight will take place on Thursday, August 5th.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox