Anthony Joshua caps off British Excellence in the Olympics

After Freddie Evans was embarrassed at the hands of Serik Sapiyev by a score of 17-9, in the Welterweight Final at the Excel Center on Aug. 12, it looked as though the British faithful were going to go home disappointed.

“He just beat the piss out of Freddie,” Adrian Downing said of Sapiyev as the Gold medalist made his victory lap around the ring.

Freddie Evans and Serik Sapiyev minutes before the start of the match. (Photo by Chris Longo)

“You’d think with how loud this place was for him (Freddie), he could have at least put on some kind of a show,” Downing’s brother Tom added.

Downtrodden, the British faithful had almost forgotten the mountain of a man who was fighting in the last match of the night, the Super Heavyweight final.

Standing 6′ 6″ with biceps that look as if they had been sculpted by the Italian sculptor Michaelangelo is Anthony Joshua. In his way was athe defending Olympic champion and two-time world champion Robert Cammarelle.

Early on, Cammarelle showed everything that made him a heavy favorite. Dipping and ducking, while throwing occasional jabs Cammarelle dominated despite Joshua’s huge size advantage. Joshua looked clumsy and oafish as Camarelle went up 13-10 after 2 rounds.

The final round started with much of the same, before Joshua went into desperation mode as the crowd willed him on with chants of “Joshua! Joshua! Joshua!” Despite the dominating round, nearly everyone in the arena — including the Italian coach who began celebrating and pumping up the crowd during deliberation, thought Cammarelle had won.

Shockingly, the judges made their decision as an 18-18 split decision to much murmuring from the crowd. That murmur became an absolute roar when three judges awarded the match to Joshua.

Lennox Lewis, Britain’s greatest Super heavyweight attended the match as did current World Heavyweight Champion Wladimir Klitschko.

British boxing fan Tony Williams could not help but look at Joshua’s victory as a passing of the torch.

“With Lennox here, and the Ukranian here, it’s big. When Joshua turns pro, he’s going to make us proud,” Williams said.

 

 

A wild day at boxing

“Tickets, tickets selling tickets anybody want tickets?” Chris Longo yelled for what had to be the 20th time.

“How much?” said the petite Mongolian woman.

After much haggling, Chris had made us 270 pounds or approximately $424 each. We had plans of steak dinners, massages and souvenirs for our family, but before we had so much as taken a step, it was over before it began. Two undercover cops swarmed in on Chris and I, separated us and began interrogating us.

It appears as though there is a massive undercover police force that prevents the reselling of tickets, which was news to us.

The UK’s Freddie Evans gets ready for his Gold Medal match. (Photo by Chris Longo)

I was not cracking, however; channeling my favorite character from The Wire, Bodie, I deflected all the man’s questions. I never had the tickets nor the money, so the police officer had little evidence on me, and I made that clear to him and he understood as much. My main worry became how do I make sure Chris does not get arrested. Chris was being threatened with maximum penalties of six months in jail and a 50,000 pound fine.

I explained to my cop, who was actually quite friendly, that scalping tickets is legal in the U.S., which is a quasi-lie as it’s still illegal, the police just turn a blind eye. I told him we grew up in big cities where scalping tickets was a way of life, and we had no idea what we were doing is wrong and that he could confiscate our tickets but please not to arrest us. After a search of Chris’ bag the cops realized we were not scalpers who bought tickets in bulk to resell at a higher rate. The gracious cop, made a decision that was beyond fair. He gave the mongolians their  money back and gave us the option of giving them the tickets or going to the event ourselves.

After all that, we went and watched five boxing matches, including Anthony Joshua’s super heavyweight victory which was one of the top sporting events Chris and I have ever seen live.

Don’t get me wrong though, I would’ve traded it in a second for $424.