Olympics-Boxing-For Team USA, spectator-less arena is like fighting at home

Sports Tokyo 2020

(Fixes spelling of Kazakh boxer in paragraph 2, removes apostrophe in paragraph 11)

By Chang-Ran Kim

TOKYO (Reuters) -For boxing’s Team USA there’s no such thing as a quiet fight - even in a spectator-less Tokyo Olympics arena.

At U.S. featherweight Duke Ragan’s round-of-16 match against Kazakhstan’s Serik Temirzhanov on Wednesday his team mates made him feel like he was fighting back home, howling cheers from the nosebleed seats of the Kokugikan arena.

“Bring it up!”

“Speed!”

“You’re too strong!”

“30 seconds!” came the cries in the arena, usually crowded with sumo wrestling fans, but empty of public spectators due to COVID-19.

Ragan, who won unanimously, said his team mates gave him motivation and energy, especially knowing that he couldn’t have his family there.

“They’re rooting for you to do better, finish hard, finish strong, they’re counting the seconds for you... same thing the coach is saying, they’re doing too.”

From the ring, Ragan said, he could make out the owner of each shouts.

“I heard Keyshawn Davis, Delante Johnson, Oshae Jones, Richard Torrez,” he replied when asked which voices he heard.

“Do you want me to name everybody?”

Ragan said he would be doing the same when his team mates enter the ring.

Did it feel like a home crowd?

“Yeah, because they’re very loud,” he said, chuckling. “They’re louder than what my family would be. My family would be biting on their nails and nervous, so yeah.”

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Michael Perry)

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Serik Temirzhanov (KAZ) in red and Duke Ragan (USA) in blue fight in their Men's Feather weight bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Kokugikan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Serik Temirzhanov (KAZ) in red and Duke Ragan (USA) in blue fight in their Men’s Feather weight bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Kokugikan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Serik Temirzhanov (KAZ) in red and Duke Ragan (USA) in blue fight in their Men's Feather weight bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Kokugikan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 28, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Serik Temirzhanov (KAZ) in red and Duke Ragan (USA) in blue fight in their Men’s Feather weight bout during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Kokugikan Arena. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

Tokyo 2020 Reuters