LONDON—After progressing through to the round of 16, Nicaraguan Olympic boxer Osmar Bravo lost on points (18-6) to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, 25, from the Ukraine on Saturday night. In a recent interview with The Nicaragua Dispatch, Bravo said that he felt confident going into the match and had his eye set on the gold medal. This dream, unfortunately, will have to be postponed until the 2016 Summer Games.
Bravo’s opponent is part of Ukraine’s seven-man boxing team that expects big things from the competition. Gvozdyk fought with an efficiency and accuracy of punches that many expect will result in an Olympic medal. He controlled all three rounds of the fight with Bravo, clinching the fight with a composed and methodical style.
Arriving to the ring as the crowd’s obvious favourite—signalled by a loud cheer that erupted after his name was announced—Bravo acknowledged his fans with his characteristic one-armed spinning salute. As the first round began, chants of “Bravo! Bravo!” could be heard resonating throughout the Excel Arena. It was quite possible that a few shoes were being waved in the air.
Bravo started the more aggressive of the two fighters, but it became clear as the round advanced that Gvozdyk was controlling the fight. He threw neat and tidy punches, and though the Ukrainian was economical with his energy, the vast majority of his attacks made contact with Bravo.
As the first-round bell rang, Gvozdyk was leading 5-1, and Bravo returned to his corner puffing and panting. This subjective reporter hoped that Bravo was deploying a similar tactic as he did in his first fight—starting slowly and then pulverizing his opponent with two-punch combinations and pure determination in the final rounds.
Sadly, it was not to be. The omens were bad. In the first 20 seconds of the second round, the referee called a halt to the bout and ordered Bravo to clean the sweat off his gloves. Another few minutes of precise and tactical boxing from Gvozdyk followed and the Nicaraguan was clearly losing the fight.
After one uppercut from the Ukrainian, Bravo’s mouthpiece flew out. The second round was scored 7-3 for Gvozdyk.
Bravo was trailing distantly as the bell sounded for the last round. Trailing by eight points, the Nicaraguan gave it his all. If this was to be the final three minutes of his Olympic Games, then he had to do himself proud. And he did just that.
The support from the audience never faded and the British commentators repeatedly praised Bravo’s courage and resolve. Even after the referee gave Bravo a standing count, and a doctor was called to check a cut above his right eye, the boxer kept on punching until the last second of the match.
Bravo knew that he had lost the match as the referee brought both boxers together and raised Gvozdyk’s fist in victory. After a quick wave to his fans, Bravo congratulated his opponent and his coaching staff, before making his way out of the ring for the last time at this year’s Olympic Games.
So what is next for Bravo? After overcoming his initial disappointment, the fighter will have the opportunity to enjoy the week in London until the Closing Ceremony on Aug. 12, when he will again pick up the responsibility of being Nicaragua’s flag bearer to parade around the Olympic Stadium. He will then return to Nicaragua to receive a hero’s reception.
The government has already promised the cabinetmaker the tools and resources he needs for his furniture workshop. And the family man will return to his hometown of Muelle de los Bueyes, where he will finally be able to spend some long overdue time with his three-month old son.