Uzbekistan’s newly crowned Olympic light flyweight champion Hasanboy Dusmatov has been awarded the Val Barker Trophy for the most outstanding male boxer of Rio 2016 – with the first-ever women’s prize going to American Claressa Shields.
Twenty-three-year-old Dusmatov is the first from his country to be awarded the accolade – given to the best pound-for-pound fighter – after a superb Games in the Brazilian city.
He won every bout he faced via unanimous decision, culminating with success over Colombia’s Yuberjen Martínez in the gold medal match. Before this, the former Asian and Universiade champion defeated American Nico Hernández in the semi-finals and Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan in the last eight.
In his opening contest he came through against Mexico’s Joselito Velázquez.
He was the first boxing gold medalist of Rio 2016 after being crowned as champion on day nine of the Olympics.
“I know my family will be happy for me and I am thrilled to be champion,” said Dusmatov after he received his award. “I want to thank Rio for an amazing Olympic Games experience.”
The Val Barker Trophy, named after the Englishman who was President of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) between 1926 and 1929, has been awarded to male fighters at every Olympics since 1936.
The winner is decided by a committee of AIBA officials, with previous men’s winners including Cuban legend Teofilo Stevenson, Ukraine’s Vasyl Lomachenko and Kazakhstan’s London 2012 welterweight champion Serik Sapayev.
Middleweight Shields became the first woman to win the honor after it was introduced for female fighters at Rio.
She dominated the competition, beating The Netherlands’ Nouchka Fontijn in the final following similarly impressive wins over Yaroslava Yakushina of Russia and Dariga Shakimova of Kazakhstan.
It meant she defended the Olympic title she won at London 2012.
“I made sure that my mind was prepared, but the fact that I won every round was amazing,” said Shields after the final. “I’ve known that I’m the greatest female boxer since I was 17-years-old, so to be the first American boxer to win two Olympic gold medals, I can’t even believe it.”
By Dan Palmer
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz