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Dark Horses Share Berths in Olympic Featherweight Final
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Two dark horses from DPR Korea and Russia shared the final berths of men's feather weight (57kg) category in the boxing tournament of the 2004 Athens Olympic Gameshere on Friday.

In the first feather weight semifinal played in the Peristeri Olympic Boxing Hall, DPR Korean Kim Song Guk turned out to be the winner of a close battle against German Vitali Tajbert, beating the latter on points 29-24.

The German, 2004 European champion and also a silver medalist at the 2003 Bangkok World Championships, was the last survivor of several top medal favorites in the tournament. He had ousted strong opponents like Khedafi Djelkhir of France and Luis Franco Vazquez of Cuba in the previous rounds.

However, the taller DPR Korean took full advantage of his height and gradually controlled the match in the latter half. Though the two had been winning points alternately throughout the match, the DPR Korean took the lead in the third and fourth rounds9-5 and 9-7 to secure his win.

Tajbert's loss also shattered the German's hope for an Olympic gold medal from the boxing arena, as the other German boxer in the semifinals Rustamhodza Rahimov was also shut out of the flyweight (51kg) final in an earlier match Friday.

In the other feather weight semifinal, Russian Alexei Tichtchenko easily crushed his South Korean rival Jo Seok Hwan 45-25 on points to reach the final, scheduled for Saturday evening.

Tichtchenko, who was not a hot favorite even inside the powerful Russian team which has 9 European champions out of its total 11 boxers, produced a major upset in the quarterfinal stage by disqualifying reigning world champion Galib Jafarov of Kazakhstan.

The victory of Tichtchenko was a great news for the gold-thirsty Russians, who, with only 15 golds for the present, are trying desperately to catch up with the United States and China, the top two position holders so far on the Games' medal tally.
(Xinhua News Agency August 27, 2004)

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