Ukrainian Boxers Dominate at Olympics
Kyiv, August 9, 2012. Five Ukrainian boxers have advanced to the Olympic semifinals that will take place on August 10 at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. This result has already put Ukraine on the top of the boxing nations by the number of the semifinalists. Notably, boxing has been one of the most developed sports in Ukraine, bringing the country world championship titles in professional boxing as well as medals at Olympics.
Out of 17 countries whose boxers made it to the semifinals of the London 2012, Ukraine is the only one boasting five athletes – Olympic champion Vasyl Lomachenko, 2011 world champions Taras Shelestyuk and Oleksandr Usyk, as well as Denys Berinchyk and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Cuba, Russia, and the UK each have four boxers in this round of the Games. Three athletes from Ireland, as well as from Italy and Kazakhstan have also made it through, while Azerbaijan, Brazil, Japan, and Mongolia each have two boxers in the semifinals. The remaining countries – Bulgaria, China, Korea, Lithuania, and Thailand – are represented by one boxer each.
Ukraine is one of the established leaders in boxing. In October 2011, Ukrainian team has set a world record at the AIBA World Boxing Championships. Ukrainian boxers Lomachenko, Shelestyuk, Khytrov, Usyk, and Berinchyk won four gold medals and one silver. This is the world record number of the awards a country ever received in this boxing tournament. In 2008, Ukraine won gold and bronze Olympic medals in boxing. In the 2000 Summer Olympic Games Ukraine won two silver medals and three bronzes.
Ukraine’s most known boxers are brothers Vitali and Volodymyr Klitschko. In July 2011, Ukrainian heavyweights created history once all major heavyweight boxing belts were won by members of one family. Volodymyr Klitschko is the current WBA, IBF, IBO, WBO, and Ring Magazine Champion, while his older brother Vitali is the ruling WBC champion.
Kid Kaplan (1901 – 1970) was a featherweight professional boxer from Ukraine, often referred to as one of the greatest Ukrainian boxers. In 2003, Kaplan was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Another famous Ukrainian professional boxer is Sergiy Dzinziruk, the former WBO Super Welterweight Champion.