Ramirez takes Bantamweight Gold over US teen Stevenson

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Robeisy Ramirez has emerged victorious in an incredibly high-quality bantamweight final this evening at the Rio Olympics.

The Cuban star, flyweight champion in London, took on America’s Shakur Stevenson in an entertaining and technical bout, coming out on top in what was one of the fights of the Games.

Ramirez shaded the opening round on all three cards, but was finding it hard to pin down the ultra-quick teenager in a fascinating three minutes

Stevenson upped his work-rate somewhat in the second and seemed to find his range with counters to level up the scores and set up a grandstand finish.

The class of the Caribbean fighter shone through in the decider against a fading Stevenson, and Ramirez took the round on two cards to take gold.

The final scorecards were split and read 29-28 x2 and 28-29 in favour of the 22 year old Ramirez who is now a double Olympic gold medalist.

Ramirez, who this time last year looked unlikely to even compete in the Games, certainly answered any critics this evening with a brilliant showing. Indeed the islander will be a contender for the Val Barker trophy, although countryman Julio Cesar La Cruz may pip him to this honour.

Invariably however, questions will forever be posed as to how Ireland’s Mick Conlan would have fared in a semi final against Stevenson and/or a final against Ramirez in a rematch of the 2012 fight in London.

Stevenson now looks set to turn pro under the tutelage of Floyd Mayweather, and is sure to, eventually, come across Belfast’s Conlan in the paid game.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie