Russia’s Adlan Abdurashidov (right) in action against Reda Benbaziz of Algeria. (Photo: AFP)
Russia’s Adlan Abdurashidov (right) in action against Reda Benbaziz of Algeria. (Photo: AFP) A victorious Algerian boxer says he fears getting headbutted in his next bout after he sustained a nasty cut in a bloody showdown with an equally wounded Russian at the Rio Olympics on Tuesday.
The angry-looking cuts to lightweights Reda Benbaziz and the vanquished Adlan Abdurashidov will shine a harsh spotlight on a decision by amateur boxing’s governing body to ditch headguards for men for the first time since the 1984 Games.
The Aiba says dumping the headwear will result in fewer concussions, and while many boxers are happier without them, some said in the lead-up to Rio that it could mean more cuts and more intentional headbutts.
And with so many fights crammed into a fortnight, it gives precious little time for those wounds to heal between bouts.
Benbaziz, 22, who won on unanimous points, is back in action in three days in the quarter-finals and fears his Mongolian foe could intentionally target his messed-up right eye, after the two fighters clashed heads on Tuesday.
The fight was stopped twice in the second round for a tournament doctor to treat each bloodied man.
The Algerian, who blamed the clash on the Russian, said as he headed off to see a doctor: “My next fight will hopefully be less physical. I wish I could wear headgear.
“I will have to be careful and try not to let the other fighter use his head, but if he does, it could affect me a lot.”
Abdurashidov, whose deep cut left him with blood smeared on his neck and cheek, said the clash contributed to his defeat, which means he now goes home.