Boxing: Buatsi banks at least a bronze for Britain

Sun Aug 14, 2016 8:34pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Floyd Mayweather told Joshua Buatsi he looked like a future world champion and the light-heavyweight responded by becoming Britain's first boxing medalist of the Rio Olympics on Sunday.

The first of a strong British contingent to reach a semi-final, where each of the losers is awarded a bronze, Buatsi pounded Algeria's Abdelhafid Benchabla for a 3-0 points decision.

"I don't go looking for the knockout, I just want to dominate in every way that I can," said the Ghanaian-born 23-year-old, who handed out a standing eight count in each of the first two rounds but then took some punishment in the third.

He said he had wanted to show that he could take the punches as well.

"You can give and take, entertain a little bit and we go back to the boxing. I'm glad to have put on a bit of a show and secure bronze at least," he added.

Mayweather, who took a bronze medal for the United States at the 1996 Atlanta Games as a featherweight before turning professional, met the Briton on Saturday and was back to watch some of the earlier fights on Sunday.

The former number one, who retired with a 49-0 record last September after winning world titles in five weight divisions and with earnings in excess of $800 million, said on social media he was in Rio "scouting future boxing champions".

"He just said 'you're a great fighter, I've heard about you before I got here and you are a future world champion'," said Buatsi.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Boxing - Quarterfinal - Men's Light Heavy (81kg) Quarterfinals Bout 200 - Riocentro - Pavilion 6 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 14/08/2016. Joshua Buatsi (GBR) of Britain reacts after winning his bout against Abdelhafid Benchabla (ALG) of Algeria. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra