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Kazakhstan's Sarsekbayev wins men's welter at Olympic boxing
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Bakhyt Sarsekbayev of Kazakhstan beat Carlos Banteaux Suarez of Cuba to win the men's welter title of the Beijing Games boxing tournament in Beijing on Sunday.

Sarsekbayev, who finished fifth in the World Championships 2007, fought from 1-0 down to lead 7-2 at the end of the second period.

Sarsekbayev never looked back in the remaining bout, winning at 18-9 for the first gold in the event and the second overall for Kazakhstan.

"We were never afraid of Cuban boxers, boxers from Kazakhstan are able to challenge any opponents in the world because boxing in Kazakhstan has always been at world level," said the 26-year-old Asian champion.

"There were exchanges in which I was faster, however I could have done it even more successfully.

"These Olympic Games are the first for me, I did not expect such immense support from my compatriots in the tribunes, that's so amazing."

While Cuba, known for its boxing skills, had to settle for four silver and four bronze medals in boxing. It is the first Olympics since Mexico 1968 that Cuba does not return with any boxing gold medals.

"Our people have to recognise the fact that these guys are in a cycle ahead. They came here with no experience, and they've won eight medals. No gold, I know but nobody was expecting more than one or two medals at all for us," said Cuba head coach Pedro Roque.

"Now we have not only eight medals, but also a team with Olympic experience ready to start preparing for the next Olympics.

"We used to have boxers like Teofilo Stevenson who had a lot of experience in international competitions. They knew how to handle every situation without losing control. These guys came here with a huge responsibility, a lot of pressure, and they couldn't win gold medals. But they've never given up, they gave their best until the end.

"We have a team who have became experienced, eight of them are already qualified for the next world championships. And we also have more boxers training in Cuba. The most important thing is to keep competing in different tournaments to gain international experience," added the coach.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)

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