Twenty-year-old Samuel Takyi ended Ghana’s 29-year wait for an Olympic medal with a spirited come-from-behind victory against Colombia’s David Avila Ceiber in the featherweight division of the Olympic boxing event in Tokyo.
Trailing the 32-year-old Colombian on all the judge’s scorecards going into the last round, Takyi showed experience and spirit beyond his age to pummel the two-time Olympian into submission, successfully overturning the deficit to secure a 3-2 split decision victory in the early hours of Sunday.
By booking a semi-final spot, Takyi is guaranteed at least a bronze medal even before he takes on American Duke Ragan in the semi-final fight on Tuesday, August 3.
In boxing at the Olympics, both losing semi-finals are awarded bronze medals, meaning Takyi will get a medal irrespective of the outcome of his semi-final fight. It is Ghana’s first Olympic medal since the Black Meteors won bronze at the 1992 games in Barcelona.
The medal is also the fourth at the games for Ghana in the boxing event, with Takyi joining the illustrious group of Clement Quartey – 1960- Silver, Eddie Blay – 1964- Bronze and Prince Amartey – 1972 – Bronze, as the only men to ever win Ghana an individual Olympic medal.
The 20-year-old started the bout on the wrong foot as he was overwhelmed by the experienced Colombian boxer, Ávila Ceiber who got all five judges scoring for him.
The second round was much better by Samuel Takyi who used his height to his advantage; catching his 31-year-old opponent off-guard regularly to get three judges scoring for him.
And when it mattered most, the Ghanaian delivered in his Olympic Games debut.
He kept his calm while delivering some perfect punches on Ceiber Segura, who kept on winding down the clock with some shrewd tactics.