Most successful silver medallists, including Roy Jones Jr and Gennadiy Golovkin

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Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar De La Hoya and Muhammad Ali are some of the names to have won gold medals at the Olympics.

Not every Olympic champion succeeds in the professional ranks though - just look at Audley Harrison. Finishing second at the Olympics is not always the worst thing to happen, and below, we look at five fighters who justify that statement.

Roy Jones Jr

Roy Jones Jr burst onto the scene in the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea fighting in the light middleweight division.

At 19 years of age, the American was the youngest of the US boxing squad which consisted of three gold medal winners in Kennedy McKinney, Andrew Maynard, and Ray Mercer.

Roy Jones Jr
Roy Jones Jr

Jones Jr reached the final of the tournament without dropping any rounds, and even breaking the noses of both his quarter-final and semi-final opponents, Soviet Yevgeni Zaytsev and Britain's Richie Woodhall. In the final, Jones Jr. met with Park Si-Hun with the South Korean fighting at his home Olympics. Despite the American completely out landing the home fighter 86 punches to 32, it was Park who came out the victor. Three judges were suspended because of the dubious decision. In spite of this, Jones Jr's efforts were still recognised with the 19-year-old being awarded the Val Barker trophy - a trophy being given to the most skilful boxer of the tournament. Jones Jr. became only the third man to win the award without leaving the games with a gold medal. Nine months after winning his silver medal, Jones Jr entered the professional ranks. The 75-fight veteran ended his career as a four-weight world champion, winning belts in middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight. In doing so, Jones Jr became the first man to win world honours at both middleweight and heavyweight for 106 years.

Although deciding to hang up the gloves in 2018 - a career that spanned 29 years - the now 53-year-old is still involved in the sport and is the trainer of Chris Eubank Jr. He is, however, still interested in fighting exhibitions and most recently fought Mike Tyson in 2020.

Riddick Bowe

Another from the US 1988 boxing team, Riddick Bowe took home silver in Seoul in the super heavyweight division. Heading into the games, Bowe had built up a solid amateur pedigree, winning four New York Golden gloves championships as well as a bronze medal in the 1987 Pan American Games. 'Big Daddy' won his first two bouts in Seoul comfortably as he finished both inside the distance. However, it was Bowe's semi-final contest against the Soviet Alex Miroshnichenko in which he came across his first bit of trouble. The then 21-year-old was knocked down followed by being on the receiving end of a standing eight count all in the first round. Bowe managed to fight through to eventually enforce two standing eight counts on his opponent in the third round, ending the victor through unanimous decision. The American's reward for his tough semi-final battle was a matchup against the British-born Canadian representative and future heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis.

Riddick Bowe
Riddick Bowe

After a fairly even first round, Lewis upped his work rate in the second with the ref giving the American a standing eight count on two occasions. It was after the second that the referee called an end to the contest despite the Bowe seeming okay to continue in what was another questionable decision against a boxer from the US in the 1988 games. Bowe didn't let the disappointment of missing out on gold halt his progression however as he would become the WBA, WBC, and IBF heavyweight champion just four years after his fight with Lewis. His win over Evander Holyfield in 1992 saw Bowe crowned as champion and it won Ring Magazine's Fight of the Year award. The American heavyweight counterparts would fight in a trilogy of fights with Bowe coming out on top winning two of the three bouts. Retiring in 2008, Bowe would finish his career with a record of 43-1 (1 NC) as well as being a two-time heavyweight world champion.

Gennadiy Golovkin

GGG
GGG

After a stellar amateur career winning gold medals in competitions such as Junior World Championship 2000, Asian Games 2002, and the World Championships 2003, Golovkin came into the 2004 Athens Olympics as a huge one to watch in the middleweight division.

After Roy Jones Jr controversial loss in the 1988 games, the IOC changed the way Olympic style amateur boxing was scored awarding points for clean shots rather than judges' opinions which remained implemented in the 2004 games. 'Triple G' sailed through to the semi-finals after winning his first two bouts via a margin of 31-10 and 31-20 respectively. Andre Dirrell - who would go on to box for the WBC and IBF super middleweight belts in his pro career - would meet Golovkin in the last four of the competition. The contest already had history with the Kazakh narrowly losing to Dirrell 13-14 a year previous. However, Golovkin managed to avenge this loss, winning the fight 23-18. The gold medal bout saw Golovkin take on Russian fighter Gaydarbek Gaydarbekov - a silver medallist at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Despite his best efforts, Golovkin was outlanded by the two-time Olympic medallist 28-18, handing a silver medal to 'GGG'.

GGG
GGG

Unlike most Olympians who transition to the pro game straight from the Olympics. Golovkin remained in the amateur game until 2006. Since turning pro, the Kazakhstan fighter has stormed through the middleweight, picking up the WBA, WBC, and IBF belts. Alongside this, Golovkin is now building up a legacy-defining trilogy with Canelo Alvarez. Despite drawing and losing the first two fights, many believe Golovkin to be the victor in both.

Amir Khan

Amir Khan
Amir Khan

Despite being the only boxing representative from team GB in the 2004 Athens Games, Amir Khan still came through to pick up a silver medal in the lightweight division at just 17 years of age. In his route to the final 'King' Khan was dominant, winning two of the first four of his contests through stoppage. The most notable of the four wins came in the round of 16 against the Bulgarian Dimitar Shtilianov. Winning gold in the 2002 and 2004 European Amateur Championships, Shtilianov was looking to be a strong contender for a medal coming into the games, yet Khan dispatched the decorated amateur with a score of 37-21. However, it was the Brit's final bout that was by far his most difficult as he met with Mario Kindelan. With an amateur record of 358-22 (undefeated since 1999) as well as winning gold in the 2000 Sydney games, the Cuban was by far the favourite to take home the gold medal in what was his last tournament before retirement. Despite Khan's commendable effort in a bout that drew in eight million viewers on the BBC, the young fighter from Bolton came out second best. Khan's silver medal made him the youngest British boxer to win a medal at an Olympics. Khan made even more progress in the pro ranks, winning his first world title five years after his Olympic medal, beating Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA light welterweight strap.

By 24, he unified the light welterweight division and went on to defeat Marcos Maidana in 2010 before having fights against Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford.

Shakur Stevenson

In 2016 the IOC transitioned from Olympic-amateur style boxing, now allowing pro fighters to compete. Despite this, Shakur Stevenson remained an amateur heading into the tournament, as the bantamweight silver medallist was the highest medalling male fighter for team USA from the Rio games. Stevenson's journey began against the Brazilian Robenilson de Jesus which the then 19-year-old southpaw comfortably overcame winning via unanimous decision. The American's quarter-final bout ended the same way as he beat the Mongolian Erdenebatyn Tsendbaatar.

Shakur Stevenson
Shakur Stevenson

Since the 2016 games, Tsendbaatar has won gold in the 2019 and 2021 Asian championships, proving to be a solid win for Stevenson. The Puerto-Rican born Stevenson was then placed into the final after his semi-final opponent Vladamir Nikitin had to withdraw through injury. In the final Stevenson fought Cuba's Robeisy Ramirez who won gold in the flyweight division in London 2012. Despite not dropping a round prior to the final, Stevenson lost a close split decision, meaning America's hunt for an Olympic gold medal for an American boxer continued, with their last being Andre Ward in 2004. Putting the disappointment to one side, Stevenson turned professional with Top Rank, winning the WBO featherweight belt in his 13th contest. Now 18 fights into his professional career, Stevenson has become a two-weight world champion and is currently the unified WBO, WBC, and The Ring super featherweight champion.

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