Medals on the horizon for boxing Brits

02 August 2012 / 08:34

Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell extended Great Britain's fine start in the Olympic boxing competition at ExCeL with victories to move within one more win of guaranteed medals in their respective weight categories.

Joshua won a raucous super-heavyweight battle with Cuba's Erislandy Savon in the final fight of Wednesday night by a 17-16 margin, holding off his opponent's increasingly frantic advances including a pair of potentially crucial right hands in the dying seconds. Earlier Luke Campbell booked his place in the last eight of the bantamweight division with a difficult 11-9 win over tough Italian Jahyn Parrinello.

"It's all about staying calm," Joshua said. "Even though it's your home crowd you get in there and you zone in on something different. The atmosphere definitely spurred me on, but I was calmer than I thought in there."

Savon, nephew of the great three-time Olympic heavyweight champion Felix Savon, had looked sharper in the opening exchanges, jolting Joshua with a jab followed by a combination, but he was clearly respectful of the Londoner's power and a looping right from Joshua stopped the Cuban in his tracks.

Patiently stalking the back-pedalling Cuban, Joshua was dictating the pace of the bout but Savon was a skilful opponent who had success with single counters including a right hand which cut through the host fighter's guard.

Joshua took a two-point advantage into the last, which looked relatively comfortable until he walked onto a big right hand and sensibly chose to hold, before riding out a rather torrid last few seconds to earn a slender victory.

Campbell admitted the experience of fighting in front of a vociferous, 10,000 capacity crowd - including former heavyweight world champions Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield - contributed to his Olympic debut being a little too close for comfort.

Campbell said: "It's the biggest event on the planet and my first fight in front of the kind of crowd. That would make anyone nervous. It was just about keeping calm and now I've got the first one out of the way I'll get better.

"I always tell myself that I won't put pressure on myself and I'll enjoy the occasion, but you can't get away from the pressure - it's there. But I've never worked harder in my life than I have to get to this tournament."

Next up for Campbell is his familiar foe Detelin Dalakliev, whom he will fight for the right to a guaranteed medal on Sunday. Campbell beat Dalakliev to win his European title in 2008 and also knocked him out in the last eight of last year's World Championships.