Albert Batyrgaziev of the Russian Olympic Committee won the gold medal for Russia in the men’s featherweight division at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. On Thursday, he beat Duke Ragan of Cincinnati, OH 3-2 on the scorecard in the gold medal final bout. As a result, Batyrgaziev made Olympic history by becoming the first ever professional boxer to win an Olympic gold medal.
According to Greg Beacham of the Associated Press, professional boxers have been eligible to compete at the last two Olympic Games. Like Batyrgaziev, Ragan is also a professional boxer.
For Batyrgaziev, this was his first medal in a major international competition. At 23 years of age, he has a professional boxing record of three wins and zero losses, with two of those wins coming via a knockout. On August 22, 2020, he knocked out Erzhan Turgumbekov of Kyrgyzstan in the 10th round of a featherweight bout in Kazan, Russia, and then on January 29, 2021, he knocked out Sibusiso Zingage of South Africa, in the seventh round of a bout at the Soviet Wings Sport Palace in Moscow.
Ragan meanwhile has a professional record of four wins and zero losses, with three of his wins coming at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, one of the most spectacular boxing venues in the entire world. One of his wins came via knockout. On August 22, Ragan beat Luis Alvarado of the United States, only 42 seconds into the competition.
A southpaw from Babayurt, Batyrgaziev has a history in kick boxing. At the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021, Batyrgaziev beat Alexey de la Cruz of the Dominican Republic 5-0 in the round of 16, Erdenebatyn Tsendbaatar of Mongolia 3-2 in the quarterfinals, and Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba 3-2 in the semifinals.
The victory over Alvarez in the semifinals was significant. Not only did he beat a boxer who participates for a nation in Cuba that has a rich history in Olympic and amateur boxing success, Batyrgaziev actually came from behind to beat Alvarez. The bronze medalists were Alvarez and Samuel Takyi of Ghana. Alvarez has now won a bronze medal in the men’s bantamweight division from the 2012 Olympic Games in London and from the men’s lightweight division from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, while Takyi has won Ghana’s first and only medal from the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021.
This was Ghana’s first Olympic medal since winning a bronze medal in men’s soccer at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Ghana’s other three Olympic medals have been in boxing. At the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome, Clement Quartey won a silver medal in the men’s light welterweight division. At the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Eddie Blay won the bronze medal in the men’s light welterweight division and at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Prince Amartey won the bronze medal in the men’s middleweight division.