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‘A real hero’: Imam Khataev loses to British boxer at Tokyo Olympics as Chechen chief Kadyrov blames ‘controversial refereeing’

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Ramzan Kadyrov has hailed knockout artist Imam Khataev after the product of his fight club saw his Olympic Games campaign end against Briton Ben Whittaker, with the protege of heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua winning on points.

Hard-hitting Khataev, who scored an eye-catching knockout win over Spain’s Gazimagomed Jalilov in the previous round, had to settle for bronze after a tactically astute display from Whittaker, who contained his opponent to close out a 4-1 win.

Whittaker revealed that he receives guidance from Joshua, the boxing Olympic gold medalist in 2012 – and Khataev also has friends in high places, with Chechen leaer Kadyrov publicly insisting that he did not view the performance as a defeat.

“Having passed through the hardest tournament grid, he broke through to the semifinals and won bronze,” said Kadyrov, hailing the Chechen-born student of the Akhmat club as “a real hero of the Tokyo Olympics”.

“In the fight to reach the final, he was a little unlucky and, because of the controversial refereeing, lost to Briton Benjamin Whittaker. But we still consider the Imam the winner.”

Khataev was pleased with his campaign at the 81kg category and revealed that he now intends to leave amateur boxing.

“Bronze is a good result,” the hotly-tipped slugger told the ROC. “I am satisfied, but initially the goal was to win the Games.

“I wil finish with Olympic boxing and continue to compete in professional boxing.”

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