“I used everything I could.”
With most of the largely South American crowd cheering on the Colombian, Martinez came out strongly against the Uzbek, who managed to keep his poise and caught his opponent on the counter-punch. All three judges scored the first two rounds to Dusmatov, with only the French judge declaring Martinez to have taken the last round.
Dusmatov becomes only Uzbekistan’s second Olympic boxing gold medallist after 2000 Olympic light-welterweight Mahammatkodir Abdullayev.
“When I was a kid, I saw Abdullayev getting the gold medal and I had a dream to repeat the same story and get another for my country,” said Dusmatov, who comes from the same city as the Sydney gold medallist.
Hernandez, who lost to the eventual champion in the semis, said his hard work had paid off, and felt that being beaten by the man who went on to win the gold added weight to his medal.
“I turned the negative into a positive and here I am with the medal, bringing it to the USA,” said the American.
“It’s a great feeling getting the team off to a good start. I know it’s going to make my team want to do even better.”