London 2012: Canadian Combat Olympic Update

Collin Van Ooyen / August 3, 2012 - 7:30pm

Judo and boxing are already well under way in London, with several medals already being handed out. The following is a look at where Canada sits after the first week of Olympic combat action.

Canada had an extremely tough time in the 2012 judo competition, but their struggles do come with a silver lining (or a bronze lining to be more accurate). Antoine Valois-Fortier was the lone success story for Canadians judokas. He was able to show great character in scoring a bronze medal over heavily favored Travis Stevens of the rival American team. The win was a huge upset as Valois-Fortier came into the tournament ranked only 27th in the world. No other Canadian judoka was able to string together more than a single win, with all seven other members of the team being sent packing early on.

Men’s boxing has provided fans with a pair of pleasant surprises, as Canada’s team currently sits undefeated. Custio Clayton finds himself only one win away from the medal round after knocking off rival Oscar Molina of Mexico in his preliminary fight, and Aussie Cameron Hammond in consecutive matches. Clayton showcased some great speed and accuracy, and could really make some noise despite coming into the Games ranked outside of the world top 40.

Super heavyweight Simon Kean also won his preliminary round bout against French boxer Tony Yoka. It was a thrilling match that kept fans guessing right to the end, as the two tied on points before Kean was granted the decision on number of punches landed. Kean showed some impressive power in the second and third rounds, outpunching Yoka and rallying from a 6-3 first round deficit.

Kean and the rest of the men’s super heavyweights will be back in action on Monday August 6th, the same day that Canadian women’s medal threat Mary Spencer kicks off her Olympic journey. Spencer scored a bye through the first round, and will face either Roseli Feitosa of Brazil, or Li Jinzi of China. Spencer is the world’s fourth-ranked welterweight and hopes to bring home a medal in the first-ever women’s Olympic boxing competition.

Canada’s freestyle wrestling team will be cooling their jets until Wednesday August 8th when the women’s 48 kg and 63 kg qualifications begin. On that date Canadians can look forward to watching reigning Olympic champion Carol Huyhn begin the defense of her 2008 gold medal at 48 kg. In the 63 kg division, Martine Dugrenier will be aiming to improve on her fifth place finish from the 2008 Games by getting off to a strong start. A total of nine Canadian wrestlers will compete from August 8th to the 12th.  Canada did not qualify any competitors for the Graco-Roman wrestling competition.

Taekwondo will be last up for Canada’s combat contingent in London, with their respective competitions kicking off on August 10th. 2008 silver medalist Karine Sergerie will begin her quest to return to the podium in the first action of the day in the women’s -67kg division. Sebastien Michaud follows directly after that in the men’s -80kg. Francois Coulombe-Fortier will square off on the 11th in the men’s +80kg division.

Stay tuned to The Fight Network and for all of your Canadian Olympic combat news and updates.