Keyshawn Davis pushed his way to victory once again.
This leads him to the medal round.
Long considered the U.S. men’s best chance to win, Davis is now just one fight away from fighting for that prize. The 22-year-old southpaw reached the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics after a split-decision win against Gabil Mamedov (ROC).
Davis won four of the five scorecards (29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28, 28-29), becoming the first U.S. lightweight to win a medal since Terrance Cauthen won bronze in Atlanta in 1996 . Mamedov was jolted by a right hand midway through round three, a frame Davis swept to ensure victory.
Davis – next to Duke Ragan, Richard Torrez Jr. and Oshae Jones at the medal table – will face Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov in the semi-finals on August 6th. Bachkov came on after a decisive victory against Elnur Abduraimov from Uzbekistan.
Less than three months ago, Davis wasn’t even supposed to be part of the U.S. boxing team for the Tokyo Olympics. After failing to report to training camp in January, which resulted in his removal from the team, a change in the qualification process opened the gap for the return.
Since then, Davis has stunned audiences, starting with his win over Enrico La Cruz in the round of 16. It was his sensational defeat in the second round by Sofiane Oumiha, who was seeded as number one in the round of 16, that really caught everyone’s attention.
That strength was required to turn the tide against a determined Mamedov as he sought to contribute to the men’s ROC boxing team’s 14 Olympic-leading victories. Davis jumped out to an early lead, but found himself in the second round against Mamedov, the fight even being on four of the five scorecards.
That changed quickly, thanks to a monster on the right hand in the middle of the third round. Mamedov was visibly stunned as Davis was ready to end the show until the referee stepped in to keep a standing watch. Mamedov was given the green light to continue but was physically abused the rest of the way, including being pushed onto the canvas after an awkward clinch.
Davis provides his fourth overall medal and three for the men’s team to the US boxing team. Both numbers mark the best booty for a US Olympic team since 2000 in Sydney.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox