INCHEON, South Korea (AFP) – Shin Jong-Hun and Ham Sang-Myeong grabbed two early boxing golds for South Korea on Friday but could not stop Kazakhstan overtaking them in the Asian Games finals.
Shin took the light flyweight title and Ham was successful in the bantamweight as the Games hosts won two of the first three boxing golds.
But Lim Hyun-Chul, then lost a heart-breaker in the light welterweight final to Thailand’s Wuttichai Masuk after having a point deducted by the referee. Kazakh fighters then took three of the next four bouts.
Shin, a highly contentious winner over Mark Anthony Barriga of the Philippines in Thursday’s semi-final, dominated Kazakhstan’s Birzhan Zhakypov in an energetic display leaving no doubts about the judging.
Ham took a unanimous decision also against China’s Zhang Jiawei in a tight battle. But the Chinese clearly thought he had done enough to win.
“Even though I got only silver I know I am the real winner,” he told AFP.
Shin danced around the ring draped in the Korean flag after his verdict was announced.
“I thought I would cry if I won the gold medal. But now, I just can’t think of anything and I can’t cry,” Shin said.
It did not all go South Korea’s way however. In the men’s light welterweight division Thailand’s Wuttichai upset favourite Lim on the tightest of split decisions.
Lim started brighter and was clearly leading when the referee deducted a point in the second round for use of the head.
Wuttichai sensed a chance and finished the second round strongly before a storming third round performance edged out Lim.
Just one judge had Wuttichai ahead and the other two level after the point deduction. Without that the fight would surely have gone to the Korean.
Kazakhstan had seven boxers in Friday’s finals and they soon got over Zhakypov’s disappointment in the opener by picking up a hat-trick of golds.
Ilyas Suleiminov won the flyweight title on a split decision against Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan. Then welterweight world champion Daniyar Yeleussinov utterly outclassed Israil Madrimov on points in the welterweight final.
He as followed into the ring by countryman and middleweight Zhanibek Alimkhanuly who demolished Odai Ruyad Adel Alhindawi, knocking the Jordanian down in the final round.
Mongolia claimed their first ever Asian Games boxing gold when lightweight Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu beat Filipino Charly Suarez on a split decision after a fight that had genuinely been too close to call. Suarez started tentatively and lost the first round. But he cut the Mongolian in the second and then dominated the third.
“Mongolia has an Olympic champion and a world champion, but I am the first Asian games champion so I am very happy,” said Dorjnyambuu.