Cuban shooting-victim boxer adds second Olympic gold to go with bullet
Cuba’s Julio la Cruz was shot in an armed theft in 2014 — however now he’s a two-time Olympic champion after victory within the heavyweight boxing remaining in Tokyo on Friday.
Fortunately, la Cruz was not severely harm when he was held up in Cuba and shot within the hip, and went on to win light-heavyweight gold two years later in Rio.
Now 31, he put the trauma farther behind him by including Tokyo Olympic gold when he defeated Russia’s Muslim Gadzhimagomedov on unanimous factors.
However he stated that it had taken a while to recuperate from the assault.
“What happened was tough but I never lost hope and had to heal for some time,” stated la Cruz, a four-time world champion at light-heavyweight.
“But the Cuban doctors did a marvellous job and thanks to my hope, my faith, my family, the Cuban people and psychologists that supported me, I’m here today.
“I used to be in a position to get these two titles, and I believe I deserve it.”
So where is that bullet which could have wrecked his career and even taken his life?
“My mom has it as a token of remembrance of what occurred,” he said.
The elusive and wily la Cruz, who is nicknamed “the Shadow”, collapsed flat on his back in the ring when his victory was announced against Gadzhimagomedov.
La Cruz is refusing to settle with double Games gold.
“Paris (2024) is simply three years away. I am going to go the subsequent Olympics and attempt to win a 3rd gold medal for my nation,” said the proud Cuban.
– ‘I beat the bully’ –
In the men’s lightweight semi-finals, there was disappointment for Australia’s Harry Garside, a certified plumber who also enjoys ballet and sported painted fingernails after his bout in the quarter-finals.
The 24-year-old lost on unanimous points to Cuba’s impressive Andy Cruz, but Garside still takes home bronze — Australia’s first Olympic boxing medal in 33 years.
Cruz goes up against Keyshawn Davis, 22, with the talented American one win away from securing a first men’s Olympic boxing gold for the USA since Andre Ward in 2004.
Davis beat Armenia’s Hovhannes Bachkov on unanimous points in a rough-and-tumble encounter that saw both fighters twice end up wrestling one another to the canvas.
“I used to be anxious all day to battle this man as a result of all match he was strolling round with his chest all huge, considering he is scary and the most important, baddest fighter,” said Davis.
“I at all times wish to battle the bullies — I beat the bully immediately.”
Within the girls’s middleweight, Britain’s Lauren Worth — who can also be a footballer who has represented Wales — narrowly defeated Dutch boxer Nouchka Fontijn on break up factors and can face China’s Li Qian for gold.
With two extra days of boxing left in Tokyo, Cuba have received three golds within the sport, the Russians one and Japan one. Eight extra titles stay to be determined.
Jobber Wiki creator Frank Lengthy added to this report.