Stoyka Krasteva never made a better decision than to come out of retirement.
The two-time Olympian brought home the first-ever Gold medal for women's boxing in Bulgaria following a dominant win over Turkey's Buse Naz Cakiroglu. Krasteva outboxed the number-one seed Cakiroglu, nearly pulling a clean sweep in their Tokyo Olympics women's flyweight final Saturday afternoon at Kokugikan Arena.
Krasteva won 30-27 on four cards and 29-28 on the fifth—losing just round two on that scorecard—to claim top honors, nine years after advancing to the quarterfinal round in 2012 London while fighting under maiden name Stoyka Petrova. She lost that year to Nicola Adams, who would go on to win the first of two consecutive Gold medals at flyweight.
Cakiroglu takes home silver, falling one fight short of becoming Turkey's first-ever boxer—male or female—to win a Gold medal. She stood as good of a chance as any, having defeated Krasteva on June 7 in the European Olympic Qualifying tournament semifinals. The feat avenged a five-year-old loss to Krasteva, who defeated a then-green Cakiroglu in 2016.
The results from two months ago completely went out the window on Saturday. The tone of the fight was similar to that of Krasteva's win over USA's Ginny Fuchs in the Round of 16. The Bulgarian female has shown a flair for shutting down her opponent's offense, a lesson that Cakiroglu learned the hard way.
Krasteva cruised to a 10-9 lead on all five scorecards after one round, continuing to control the action throughout round two. Cakiroglu was forced to spend most of the frame fighting on her heels, with Krasteva coming forward with a purposeful jab.
In need of a knockout or something dramatic in order to pull out the fight, Cakiroglu remained unable to turn things around in the third and final round. Krasteva refused to sit on her lead, fighting as she has throughout the Olympics.
The feat justified Krasteva's decision to come out of retirement in 2019, one year after having previously decided to call it a career. The decision to return was urged by her husband as well as the President of Bulgarian Boxing Federation, who believed Krasteva had another Olympic run in her.
Krasteva ultimately ran over the competition while carrying Bulgaria's boxing team on her back. The nation goes 6-2 in Tokyo, with five of the wins provided by Krasteva along with its first Gold medal in 25 years.
Cakiroglu is one of two women on Turkey's boxing team who entered Saturday assured of at least Silver. She exits Tokyo with that in tow, while Hsiao Wen Huang (Chinese Taipei) and Tsumiki Namiki (Japan) take home bronze.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox