Boxer Hebert Conceição wins by technical knockout and gives Brazil a gold medal in boxing in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
By Marques Travae
Boxer Hebert Conceição has been on my radar for the past week. With each of his last few victories in Tokyo 2020, reports repeated with each advance that he had guaranteed a medal for Brazil. First, he was guaranteed at least a bronze, but then advancing to the final, he could have been fighting for at least a silver and possibly a gold medal. Well, not only did he earn the gold, but he did so in spectacular fashion.
Fighting the Ukrainian fighter Oleksandr Khyzhniak, the 23-year-old didn’t look as if he would be able to pull it off. From the opening bell, Khyzhniak came out on the attack cutting off the ring and not allowing Conceição room to move. With his strategy he was able to score various blows in both of the first two rounds. With this dominance, all five judges awarded the Ukrainian both of the first two rounds on points.
Heading into the third round down two rounds to none, the only way Conceição would able to win the fight was with a knockout and at the 1:29 mark of the third round, the Brazilian landed magnificent left cross to Khyzhniak’s face, dropping him to the floor. With that blow and knock down, the match was interrupted by Indonesian judge Muhammad Arisa Putra Pohan.
Different from professional fights, judges in Olympic boxing are extremely cautious and don’t allow a fighter to be excessively beaten. The referee didn’t even start counting and declared a technical knockout since the punch was so perfect and the Khyzhniak dropped so quickly. Under professional rules, the fight would have undoubtedly been allowed to continue.
“Hard to speak of the feeling, it’s incredible, a very big emotion, I felt the energy of everyone who was cheering. I thought during the rounds that there were many people sending energy for this knockout. I believed that I could, and I am glad that it happened, I was rewarded, and we deserve it. I am not a knockout artist, I am more stylish. But you also have to train punches so that in situations like this you have other weapons and other plans to be able to execute them on the spot. I believed until the end and the knockout came”, said an excited Hebert Conceição.
Hebert, who was born in Salvador, Bahia, entered the ring looking to match the accomplishment of Robson Conceição, the 2016 Olympic champion in Rio de Janeiro. The two are the only athletes in the country to be Olympic boxing champions.
“The athlete I faced has a difficult game to work with, he is a very strong guy, intense, it is spectacular the physical form with which he always presents himself in the fights. He is an incredible fighter, I respect him a lot. But I knew my own capacity too. I trained a lot, I took very seriously all the work that was done during the cycle, during my whole initiative since I started in boxing. I had lost two rounds, had one more to go, and even though the score was adverse I knew that in three minutes I could reverse it with a knockout. If you noticed, at the beginning of the round I went into a frank fight and said, if I get knocked out here it doesn’t matter, I’m lost, now I’m going to get mine. And I knew that it was a lottery in the punching. I managed to connect a good cross, of which I also train for a lot when I’m simulating mixed martial arts situations. This gold medal is for Brazil.”
This Sunday, at 2 a.m. Brazilian boxing has another chance to earn another medal as Beatriz Ferreira will enter the ring in the lightweight category (up to 60 kg) in the final against Kellie Harrington of Ireland.
Besides Robson, Bia and Hebert Conceição, Brazilian boxing has won five medals in the Olympics. Servílio de Oliveira earned a bronze medal in Mexico-1968, then Esquiva Falcão, Yamaguchi Falcão, and Adriana Araújo stood on the podium in London-2012. Abner Texeira also took the bronze among the heavyweights in this year’s Tokyo games.