Tokyo Olympics: Great Britain’s Ben Whittaker wins boxing silver after defeat by Arlen Lopez

Ben Whittaker says he doesn’t want to look like a “spoiled brat” after winning silver
Dates: 23 July-8 August Time in Tokyo: BST +8
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live, Sports Extra and Sounds; live text and video clips on BBC Sport website and app.

Ben Whittaker won Great Britain’s second boxing silver of Tokyo 2020 after defeat by Cuba’s Arlen Lopez in the light-heavyweight gold-medal bout.

Whittaker, 24, was left in tears on the podium after losing on a split decision to the classy Lopez.

Earlier on Wednesday, Frazer Clarke won bronze in the men’s super-heavyweight class after losing his semi-final to Uzbekistan’s Bakhodir Jalolov.

Team GB have won a record six medals in the boxing events at Tokyo 2020.

The colour of two more medals will be determined when Galal Yafai goes in the flyweight semi-finals on Thursday before Lauren Price’s middleweight semi-final bout on Friday.

On Tuesday, Pat McCormack claimed a silver medal after losing a hard-fought men’s welterweight contest to Cuba’s Roniel Iglesias, while Karriss Artingstall took bronze in the women’s featherweight earlier in the week.

Clarke, who is the captain of GB’s boxing squad in Tokyo, said he was proud of their performance.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to captain this team. It’s been an honour. I might be the captain on paper, but there are 11 captains in this team,” he said.

GB’s Ben Whittaker earns silver after defeat in final by Cuba’s Arlen Lopez

First an Olympic medal – mayoral chains next?

Whittaker has emerged as one of the British stars in Tokyo after impressing with both his talent in the ring and his chirpy personality in the post-bout interviews.

He drew attention after saying he wants to become the mayor of his home town of Wolverhampton after the Games, although his primary target was getting an Olympic medal around his neck rather than the mayoral chains.

The devastation of the defeat by Lopez was evident. Whittaker was crying on the podium after receiving his medal, before stuffing the silver into his pocket.

“You don’t win silver, you lose gold. I’m very disappointed – I feel like a failure,” he said.

“You’re in this game to win gold. I don’t want to feel like this again. I’m going to put this to the back of my mind. I’ll come back, trust me.”

The Briton exuded confidence as he danced his way into the ring and started quickly, trying to upset the rhythm of the Cuban southpaw with his quick jab.

But Lopez stepped forward more as the first round progressed, leading to him winning the opener on all of the judges’ scorecards.

Whittaker was told by his corner to go for his shots in the second round, but landed little on the classy Cuban until a late left hook gave him hope.

But he still trailed on four of the five cards and needed a stoppage in the final round to win gold.

That did not not look like coming and although Whittaker edged the round it was not enough as Lopez added the title to the middleweight gold he won at Rio 2016.

Nevertheless, an Olympic silver medal is a long way from being sacked from a host of jobs in his youth – including a matchday role at football club Wolves, where he was caught eating a pie in the toilet.

Clarke could ‘never have seen’ winning Olympic medal

Tokyo Olympics: GB captain Frazer Clarke earns bronze after defeat by Uzbekistan’s Jalolov

Clarke was unable to follow Whittaker into a gold-medal bout after his semi-final was stopped by the referee in the third and final round because of a heavy cut around the Briton’s right eye.

The 29-year-old from Burton-on-Trent was trailing on the judges’ scorecards before the stoppage.

Clarke was guaranteed at least a bronze following the disqualification of his quarter-final opponent Mourad Aliev for excessive use of the head.

But the cut he suffered in that bout opened up towards the end of the second round against 27-year-old Jalolov, who won for the 37th consecutive time to reach Sunday’s final.

Despite the disappointment, Clarke celebrated winning bronze by raising both of his fists in triumph – an illustration of the hard work and disappointment he has overcome to secure an Olympic medal.

He was overlooked for selection at London 2012 in favour of Anthony Joshua – his former sparring partner and eventual gold medallist – and again at Rio 2016, where Joe Joyce was picked and won silver.

“It’s not the fairytale I wanted but I am proud of myself – I gave a great effort,” said Clarke.

“In the past 18 months I gave more sacrifices then I ever had. I’m Olympic bronze medallist – I could never have seen that for myself.”

Frazer Clarke celebrates winning bronze
Clarke joined Robert Wells (bronze 1984), Audley Harrison (gold 2000), David Price (bronze 2008), Anthony Joshua (gold 2012) and Joe Joyce (silver 2016) as a British super-heavyweight Olympic medallist

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