Olympics: Lopez wins middleweight boxing title for third Cuban gold

Cuba's Arlen Lopez (above) looks on as he fights Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziev.
Cuba's Arlen Lopez (above) looks on as he fights Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziev.PHOTO: AFP

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Cuba made it a third Rio Olympic boxing gold when the middleweight Arlen Lopez outclassed Uzbekistan's Bektemir Melikuziev on Saturday (Aug 20) - and celebrated with forward rolls in the ring.

Lopez, 23, was rightfully awarded the unanimous points victory, with bronze going to Azerbaijan's Kamran Shakhsuvarly - beaten by Lopez in the semi-finals - and Misael Rodriguez of Mexico.

It was more heartbreak for the Uzbek, after the peerless Lopez similarly defeated him in the final of the world championships in 2015.

Lopez was the more accomplished boxer throughout and the punishment took its toll with two minutes left of the third round when Melikuziev, 20, had prolonged treatment from a doctor for a nasty gash above one eye.

The gold for Lopez came immediately after fellow Cuban Robeisy Ramirez won the bantamweight title in his final, while the light-heavyweight Julio Cesar La Cruz took gold on Thursday.