Olympics day 11: McCormack claims silver, Yafai guaranteed bronze, Dubois misses out

August 3, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny


Pat McCormack’s bid to win gold for GB Boxing on day 11 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ended in disappointment – but Galal Yafai won his quarter-final to guarantee the squad a sixth medal of the games.

Welterweight (Under 69kg) had breezed his way through to his final bout with Roniel Igelsias in confident style and was confident of finishing his amateur career in the best way possible.

But it was not to be as his Cuban opponent deservedly won his second Olympic boxing gold, claiming a 5-0 unanimous decision win as he looked the sharper boxer on the day.

There was little to choose between the two men in the first round, but Iglesias’ sharp jab that saw him first to the punch, saw him claim it 4-1 on the judges’ scorecards.

As McCormack looked to hit back in the second round he appeared to be knocked to the canvas, but the referee deemed it to have been a slip.

Even though that decision went his way, the Birtley man could not take advantage as Iglesias won the round unanimously.

McCormack gave it his all in the final round despite being firmly up against it, but the Cuban finished well to wrap up the third round 4-1 and make it a clean sweep of the judges overall.

Sportingly at the end, the North Easterner embraced his opponent, seemingly knowing he had come off second best on this occasion.

Nevertheless, a silver medal represents an excellent return for McCormack and justifies his decision to box on for GB after missing out on a medal at Rio 2016.

There was greater success for Birmingham City Boxing Club’s Yafai, also appearing at his second Olympics, as he reached the last four with an excellent display in his last eight bout with Yosbany Veitia at flyweight (Under 52kg).

The Great Britain man started on the front foot as won the opening round by 4-1, using his hand speed and strong work inside to good effect.

Veitia came back in the second round to edge it 3-2, which left the contest up for grabs going into the third.

But Yafai held his nerve superbly and, as his opponent began to wilt, he upped the tempo, piled on the pressure and stormed to a unanimous final round success to claim the bout 4-1 overall.

His guaranteed bronze – he will now face Saken Bibossinov in the semi-final on Thursday at approximately 2.45pm (6.45am UK time) – means GB have now recorded their best overall performance in boxing at the Olympics for more than a century.

Elsewhere, Caroline Dubois had high hopes of going all the way and winning gold in Tokyo, despite her relative inexperience.

But the 20-year-old’s hopes were dashed against a Thai opponent Sudaporn Seesondee who has appeared at six different World Championships.

The bout was extremely close throughout, and it would have been no surprise had the England Boxing National Youth Championship 2019 winner been given the nod by the judges.

As it was, the Repton Lightweight (Under 60kg) dropped the opening round on a 3-2 split in a sign of things to come in terms of how tight the contest was.

Dubois needed to win the second round to keep herself in contention – and she did just that, winning it by the same margin to leave the bout on a knife edge.

Both boxers gave it their all and had their spells of success in the final round, but it was Seesondee who nicked the verdict by 3-2 to secure an overall 3-2 victory and progress to the semi-finals.