Thailand's Chatchai graceful in defeat
Flyweight Chatchai Butdee was magnanimous in defeat after Cuba's Ramirez Carrazana stopped him in the last-16 bout of the boxing competition.
"He was a much better fighter," the 27-year-old Thai acknowledged.
Chatchai was hoping for Olympic glory but his hopes ended in the second fight in London. The Thai found Carrazana, nine years his junior, too much to handle, going down 22-10 in a bout the Cuban teenager dominated from the first round.
Chatchai's loss dealt a huge blow to the Thai boxing team's hopes of extending the country's proud record of winning at least a gold medal in every Olympics since the 1996 Atlanta Games. No doubt, he was widely considered as the most accomplished of the three Thai boxers had fielded in the Games. "I lost to him in every aspect. I was trailing him by two points in the first round and it completely disrupted my plans. I was forced to box a bit rashly. I also had fever since my first bout but I didn't tell anyone. It got progressively worse before the fight and I had to see a doctor," said Chatchai.
Chatchai believed his defeat was down to a lack of experience on international stage. "I have less overseas experience. I want to continue in the sport. I hope to get more chances to serve the country. I had already prepared for the worst-case scenario as this is my first Olympics.
"I'm really sorry that I couldn't deliver a medal to the Thai people and also to my daughter. My wife is due to give birth to our baby on August 25," said Chatchai.
With both Chatchai and Sailom Ardee, who was dumped out in the preliminary round of the lightweight class, eliminated, veteran light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon now has to carry the country's expectations of his own. He was due to fight Ecuador's Carlos Quipo Pilataxi late last night.
Although the boxing competition in London Games has been marred by some dubious refereeing decisions, General Boonlerd Kaewprasith, the Thailand Boxing Association president, who was at the venue, said he had no complaints with Chatchai's result.
"Whether we win or lose, it depends on us. Today, we can't argue with the decision even though I didn't know why we did not earn a point with a body shot. Anyway, we accepted the judges' decision."
General Boonlerd insisted he would resign from his post if Thailand failed to claim any gold medal."If we don't win a gold, I'll leave. We never missed out on a gold under the previous three presidents of the national boxing body. I don't see the reason to stay should we fail to do it this time," said Boonlerd.
US men get late help
The British boxing team is nearly unbeaten at its home Olympics, while nine straight defeats appeared to finish off the American men - until a late-night reprieve kept one US fighter alive.
Welterweight Freddie Evans and flyweight Andrew Selby added two more impressive wins to Britain's growing collection on Friday night, while losses for Rau'shee Warren and Errol Spence appeared to send the Americans home without a medal for the first time in Olympic history.
But about five hours after Indian welterweight Vikas Krishan appeared to clutch and grab his way to a 13-11 win over Spence, boxing's governing body AIBA overturned the result of the bout, saying Vikas had committed nine holding fouls in the third round and intentionally spat out his mouthpiece in the second.