Mary Spencer won’t be bringing home a boxing medal from the London Games, but there is at least one Canadian with a shot.
Custio Clayton of Dartmouth, N.S., faces Freddie Evans of Great Britain in a Tuesday quarter-final bout which could book his berth to the medal round. He has already won two bouts in London, quietly going about his business with little fanfare.
A win over Evans, who will have the pro-Team GB crowd on his side, would guarantee Clayton at least a bronze medal. Evans is the No. 2 seed in the Olympic tournament in the 69-kilogram weight class, a southpaw from Cardiff, Wales.
The 24-year-old Dartmouth fighter and father of two small kids has already earned two victories in London, toppling Mexico’s Oscar Molina Casillas and Australia’s Cameron Hammond.
Clayton is Canada’s last remaining boxer at the Games after Super Heavyweight fighter Simon Kean of Trois Rivieres, Que., lost out Monday night in the quarter-finals to Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan in the 91-plus-kilogram weight class.
Kean had advanced to the quarters with a win over French fighter Tony Yoka. But Dychko was far more seasoned. Kean fell into a 5-2 hole by the end of the first round to his swift 6-foot-9 opponent, eventually losing 20-6.
“It’s very hard against someone like that who is so tall and experienced, but he jumped in the ring and worked really hard, but he’s a novice compared to a guy like that,” said Canadian Olympic team coach Sylvan Gagnon. “The Canadian kids had a good training camp and terrific preparation. Now we look for the next experience, more competitions. If the government decides to invest more, it’s going to get better, the kids can have more fights around the world, more training camps.”
Kean and Gagnon acknowledged the Olympic venue of 10,000 fans and the vastly experienced competitors are far beyond anything the young fighter has yet to experience, but the chiseled 243-pounder has good potential.
“I felt a lot of stress, and I’m very disappointed about the result, but I’m happy for the experience,” said Kean in French, translated by Gagnon.
Canada’s last Olympic boxing medal was a silver earned by heavyweight David Defiagbon at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Super heavyweight Lennox Lewis was the last Canadian boxer to win Olympic gold when he did so in Seoul in 1988.