Fri, September 20, 2013

Canadian Clayton into boxing quarterfinals

By STEVE BUFFERY, QMI AGENCY


Canada's Custio Clayton (right) wins against Australia's Cameron Hammond in their Men's Welter (69kg) Round of 16 boxing match during the London Olympics on Aug. 3, 2012. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

LONDON - Canadian boxer Custio Clayton is turning a lot of heads here at the London Olympics. Which is what happens when his fist meets an opponent’s chin. The guy’s head turns.

The Dartmouth, N.S welterweight won again on Friday afternoon at the ExCel Arena, and the Canadian boxing team now sports a perfect 3-0 record, and that’s without three-time world champion Mary Spencer stepping in the ring as of yet. (Spencer received a first round bye and doesn’t fight until Monday against a opponent to be determined. She needs just one win to make it into the medal round).

Clayton defeated Cameron Hammond 14-11 on Friday, after out-scoring the Australian 9-6 in the final round. He now moves on to the quarter-finals. A win there and he’ll get a medal. The last Canadian to win an Olympic boxing medal was Halifax heavyweight David Defiagbon at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

“The first two rounds started off slow. I didn’t want to just throw a punch and make a mistake,” said Clayton. “Coming up through the last round the coach (Sylvan Gagnon), asked me, ‘How much do you want it? Show everybody how much you want it.’ I knew I trained hard and knew how much I had left and gave it everything I had.“

Clayton, 24 pulled off a similar win in the first round when he out-scored Oscar Molina of Mexico — a fighter he had lost to in the past — 11-7 in the final two rounds.

In the official London Olympic bio sheets, Hammond lists his sporting philosophy as: “Go hard or go home.” Well, he obviously didn’t go hard enough and now he’s going home, and Clayton is going on to the next round and couldn’t be happier.

“It feels great,” he said. “Some people probably didn’t think I’d make it this far, but I showed them as long as we do the work and want it, we can succeed in whatever we want to do. “

Clayton next fights on Tuesday, and it should be a barn-burner. His opponent is Freddie Evans of Great Britain, the 2011 European champion and huge fan favorite at the ExCel Arena. Evans is Wales’ first European champion in 86 years.

Canadian super-heavyweight Simon Kean defeated Frenchman Tony Yoka earlier this week and will also meet a very difficult opponent in his next bout on Monday —2011 world championship bronze medallist Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan.

steve.buffery@sunmedia.ca

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