When one hears that the WBA/IBO Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin’s amateur record was 345-5 and didn’t win a Gold medal but a Silver medal in the 2004 Olympics you ask how was that? This writer went back to the 32 boxer middleweight bracket and was surprised to see the names of some of the competitors especially those who have done well in the professional ranks. Names like Jean Pascal, Andre Dirrell, Karoly Balzsay, Andy Lee, Alfredo Angulo, Hassan N’Jikam, Lukas Wilaschek, Jamie Pittman and Yordanis Despaigne.
One of the few who didn’t turn professional was the Gold medalist Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov of RUSSIA. He had victories over Jermain Taylor in 1998, Jeff Lacy, Eromosele Albert and Zolt Erdei in the 2000 Olympics. In 2004 he won the EBU amateur title defeating Lukas Wilaschek of GER who was also in the 2004 Olympics. This writer remembers the amateurish style of Gaydarbekov and thinking “he’ll never make it in the pro’s”! We never found out because he never turned professional!
Golovkin was one of four who drew a bye with those four fighting one another in Round of 16 and the quarterfinals. He defeated Ahmed Ali Khan of PAKISTAN 31-10 while Ramadan Yasser of EGYPT defeated Marian Simion of ROMANIA 36-24. Simion was 3-1 in the 1996 Olympics with a win over Fernando Vargas of the USA who later became the IBF/WBA 154 champion. Simion won a Gold medal in the 1999 World Amateur championships and a Silver medal in the 2000 Olympics. Going into the 2004 Olympics he won the European championship.
Golovkin defeated Yasser 31-20 to earn a semifinal medal round and meet the USA boxer Andre Dirrell. Yasser appeared in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He is currently 8-0 today fighting out of NYC. So DIRRELL and GOLOVKIN were winners in 2 of the 4 brackets and would meet. Dirrrell defeated Golovkin 15-14 in a 2003 USA-KAZAKHSTAN dual. In the Olympics he defeated an opponent from CHINA and Nabil Kassel of ALGERIA who had defeated his opponent from BRAZIL. Dirrell’s win was by RSC2 to get to the medal round. Kassel would go onto compete in the 2008 Olympics. In the semifinal Golovkin would reverse his loss to Dirrell by 23-18 to go to the finals. Dirrell today is 21-1 having lost in a WBC 168 title bout by split decision to Carl Froch.
Yordanis Despaigne of CUBA defeated Haitian Jean Pascal representing CANADA by 36-24. Today Pascal is 27-2-1 and the former WBC 175 champion. Karoly Balzsay of HUNGARY defeated Mohamed Sahraoui of TUNISIA 39-24 but lost to Despaigne 38-25. Balzsay today is 25-2 and the former WBO 168 champion and current WBA Super 168 champion. In the 2003 Pan Am Games Despaigne defeated Dirrell 21-20. In the 2004 Olympics he lost to Dirrell by the same 21-20 score in the quarterfinals.
In the other two brackets Gaydarbekov defeated Christopher Camat of PHILIPPINES 35-13 while Sherzod Abdurahmonov of UZBEKISTAN defeated Serdar Ustuner of TURKEY 34-16. Gaydarbekov defeated Abdurahmonov 33-19 to the quarterfinals. Andy Lee of IRELAND defeated Alfredo Angulo of MEXICO 38-23. Angulo is 22-2 and the former WBO interim champion. Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam of CAMEROON ended up with a 22-22 score against Juan Ubaldo of DOMINICAN REPUBLIC but landed a higher rate and would move onto fight Lee. Ubaldo won the 2003 Pan Am games middleweight Gold medal defeating Pascal and Despaigne.
N’Jikam against Lee again fought to an even 27-27 and moved on with a higher rate. Lee is 30-2 today out of the USA and lost in a WBC 160 title fight to Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. N’Jikam would lose to Gaydarbekov 26-13 in the quarterfinals. N’Jikam now 27-1 and out of FRANCE won the interim WBA and interim WBO before losing in a WBO title bout to Peter Quillin.
In the other bracket Javid Taghiyev of AZERBAIJAN defeated Georgios Gazis of GREECE 32-31 while Suriya Prasathinphimal of THAILAND defeated Joseph Lubega of UGANDA 30-21. Lubega now fights out of the UK under the name Joey Vegas. Taghiyev and Prasathinphimal ended up 19-19 with the latter moving on. Lukas Wilaschek of GERMANY defeated Jamie Pittman of AUSTRALIA 24-23. Today Pittman is 22-3 having lost in a WBA world title bout against Felix Sturm.
Oleg Mashkin of UKRAINE defeated Khotso Motau of SOUTH AFRICA 25-22. Mashkin would defeat Wilaschek 34-24 and meet Prasathinphimai in the quarterfinals losing 28-22. Wilaschek born in POLAND fights out of GERMANY and won his first 22 fights before losing to Robert Stieglitz and retiring. Stieglitz is the current WBO 168 champion. Prasathinphimai would meet Gaydarbekov in the medal round losing 24-18. This set the stage for the Gaydarbekov-Golovkin Gold medal round with Gaydarbekov winning 28-18 leaving Golovkin with the Silver medal in the 2004 Olympics.
In summary the 2004 middleweight division in the Olympics had quite a few good fighters. ANDY LEE is No. 8 in the WBC/WBA. ANDRE DIRRELL is No. 10 in the WBA/IBF. KAROLY BALZSAY won and lost WBO 168 and won WBA 168 champ but vacated title not having fought since April of 2012. JEAN PASCAL won WBC 175 and lost it. He is now their No. 2. YORDANIS DESPAIGNE is 9-2 as a pro and lost to Golovkin in 2005 for the World Cup. HASSAN N’DAM is No. 5 in the IBF 160. JOSEPH LOBEGA aka JOEY VEGAS is No. 15 WBC 175. ALFREDO ANGULO is No. 3 IBF 154.
This writer knows it’s a lot to take in and much easier to look at in a bracket form but the point is the 2004 Olympic middleweight class was one tough group of boxers that Golovkin had to compete against. Today I consider Golovkin to be in anyone’s top 10 P4P and if the other organizatIon’s champions ever unify Golovkin winning all major organizations would get his just do. In the meantime he is willing to fight from 154 to 168. Floyd Mayweather has agreed to fight Canelo Alvarez at 154 in September. The winner meeting Golovkin at 154 could vault the winner to the top of the P4P list.