Siphiwe Lusizi produced the best result by any SA Olympic Games boxer in many years when he won his welterweight bout in London on Sunday night.
Lusizi beat Iran’s Ahmed Abdulkareem Ahmed 17-13 to move into the second round; an achievement that brought great joy to the SA camp.
The East London southpaw used his reach advantage and speed to good effect, moving well from start to finish. He won the first round 6-4, increased his lead to 12-8 after the second and maintained his composure to seal a commendable victory.
The 23-year-old Lusizi, a part-time model who began boxing at the age of 12 in Mdantsane, East London, gave Ahmed no chance to get into the fight.
By reaching the second round in one of the most competitive divisions at the Games, he became the most successful SA Olympic Games fighter in many years.
He lost 12 fights at the start of his career but won the SA amateur welterweight title in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
In 2010 he represented South Africa at the Commonwealth Games in India, where he was knocked out by Namibian Mujandjae Kasuto in the third round of his first fight.
But on Sunday night he became a star, picking his shots to keep scoring at a good rate, and staying out of trouble against an awkward opponent.
It may not have been one of the best fights of the evening, and it is hard to say how far Lusizi can go, but his first fight at an Olympic Games was a triumph for the young man from thge Eastrern Cape.