Why are there two bronze medals in boxing at the Olympics?

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The Tokyo Olympic Games arrive this Friday at the halfway point of the competition, with a still poor medal table for Spain: with three medals for the Spanish expedition in Tokyo (for now), sad nights follow one another for the national teams, which still do not add up . Already on Friday morning, boxer Gazi Jalidov, who was fighting for a place in the semifinal, fell to Russian Iman Kathaev – who officially does not compete for Russia, but for the ROC – in the third round by KO, taking another olympic diploma but staying out of the fight for the medals. However, there are still possibilities with Emmanuel Reyes Pla, the great hope who came to Tokyo with the intention of “ripping heads off.”

Reyes is measured in the -91 kg category. against the four-time world champion and Olympic gold in Rio 2016 Julio César de la Cruz, and he does so with options to win the medal. Why? Because in Olympic competitions, some disciplines, including boxing, also distribute gold and silver two bronze medals. The Cuban, nationalized Spanish in 2020, is now competing, shortly before 1:00 p.m. (Spanish time), to get access to the semifinals; to achieve it and a medal would be assured.

The winners of the semifinals battle each other to get the gold in the final, of which the losing fighter will take the silver medal. Boxers who lose in the semifinal they take the bronze directly. Although in some boxing competitions there is a ‘playoff’ match to decide who gets the third and fourth place, according to the olympic rules there is no such playoff match, so that all those who reach the semifinals and do not go to the final are guaranteed a medal.

Emmanuel Reyes Pla against Kazakhstan Vassiliy Levit (Reuters)

Since when has this happened?

The 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games were the first in which the fight for the bronze was not held, although not in the way it is today. In that year, and the only time in history, only gold and silver medals were awarded to the finalists, and those eliminated in the semifinals only obtained the Olympic diploma. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) rectified months later, and since the following Olympics, those of Melbourne 1956, bronze medals began to be awarded to the two semi-finalists who did not advance to the final phase.

As collected ‘Sports Plane‘, the origin of this measure was London 1948, when the boxing competitions were concentrated in several days, forcing athletes to fight relentlessly. The pace was so high that in several bouts for the bronze medal there was a boxer who he was not able to compete, due to the blows received in the semifinal he had lost. For this reason, the International Boxing Federation would have asked the IOC to withdraw these bouts.

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