Boxing kicks off its gold medal stage at the 2012 Olympics on Day 15, with five star-studded matchups featuring 10 fighters who are guaranteed to walk away with some hardware. The only question is: Will it be silver or gold?
We don't have the answers to that question right now, but we can tell you which matches you need to make sure to check out.
Here are the three best matchups, at least on paper, that will determine gold medal winners at the Olympics.
Middleweight Division: Esquiva Falcao Florentino vs. Ryota Murata
These two fighters took very different paths to get to this match, with Falcao Florentino dominating Anthony Ogogo in the semifinals 16-9. Murata was much more methodical in his matchup, defeating Abbos Atoev 13-12 thanks to an 8-4 advantage in the third round.
Falcao Florentino is a rising star in the sport, winning the 2011 Pan American Games en route to making it all the way here.
Murata is a 26-year-old who keeps getting better with each event he enters. He is guaranteed at least a silver medal after winning a silver at the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships.
Bantamweight Division: John Joe Nevin vs. Luke Campbell
John Joe Nevin did not have a glamorous performance in the semifinals, but it was very calculated. He used round scores of 5-3, 7-6, 7-5 that gave him the advantage over Lazaro Alvarez.
Luke Campbell was far more impressive in his victory over Satoshi Shimizu, scoring a 20-11 victory. He is going to be the star of the show since he is from Great Britain, which does put more pressure on his shoulders to perform.
That said, Campbell has more power than Nevin. He is sharper on the attack, while doing enough on defense.
Heavyweight Division: Oleksander Usyk vs. Clemente Russo
For the record, I don't think this is going to be the best pure boxing match of the day. Heavyweight fights are often slower and more deliberate than you will normally see because they don't have the speed and stamina to go at a fast pace.
Usyk might as well have had a bye in the semifinals, because he destroyed Tervel Pulev 21-5. It wasn't even that close, which is both good and bad. We know Usyk can dominate, but will his confidence turn into arrogance and cause him to slip if he is in a close contest with Russo?
Russo needed a final-round comeback against Teymur Mammadov to secure his spot in the finals. His confidence may not be as high as Usyk's, but he could be more focused so that he doesn't fall behind early again and need a comeback to win against, frankly, a better fighter.
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