It’s been 12 years since an American middleweight boxer received a medal at the Olympics, but Charles Conwell is hoping to change that at the 2016 Rio Games. He’ll represent the United States against India’s Krishan Vikas in the Round of 32 on Tuesday afternoon.
Conwell faces an uphill battle as he enters his first fight in the 75kg (165 pounds) division. Cuba’s Arlen Lopez and Uzbekistan’s Bektemir Melikuziev are the top favorites in the weight class, and Conwell could have trouble getting past his first bout.
Vikas is a slight betting favorite to reach the Round of 16. Paddy Power has given him 4/7 odds to advance, while Conwell is a 5/4 underdog.
Vikas, the No.7 seeded middleweight, is looking to win a medal after suffering disappointment in the 2012 Games. He was initially named the winner of his welterweight fight against American Errol Spence, who is currently undefeated and holds the IBF welterweight championship. But the decision was overturned five hours later after it was ruled that Vikas had committed multiple fouls.
Conwell is entering his first ever Olympic fight at just 18 years old, but he is confident, even if the odds are not in his favor.
“A gold medal. I just need to be in those top names like Muhammad Ali, Oscar de la Hoya,” Conwell told WKYC-TV in his hometown of Cleveland. “I need to get that gold medal. I want to do it for me and my country and my family. I’m going to get it.”
Andrew Dirrell brought the USA a bronze medal in 2004 as a middleweight, and Rhoshii Wells did the same in Atlanta in 1996. Vijender Singh became the first Indian men’s boxer to ever medal at the Olympics when he won the bronze as a middleweight at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.
The winner of Conwell vs. Vikas will go on to face either Turkey’s Onder Sipal or Zambia’s Benny Muziyo.
Tuesday’s fight is set to start at 5:15 p.m. ET, but it won't be on TV. A live stream is available online at NBCOlympics.com.