Thursday’s Olympic boxing action witnessed two more sessions of unmissable action across four weight categories; Bantamweight (56kg), Light Welterweight (64kg), Welterweight (68kg) and Light Heavyweight (81kg). Of the 17 countries to emerge victorious, Morocco’s World Champion Mohammed Rabii got his Olympics off to a winning start, Britain’s Josh Buatsi secured an explosive win, and Kazakh Daniyar Yeleussinov looking in typically ruthless mood.
The Bantamweights (56kg) got the day under way, and Venezuela’s Victor Rodriguez and Sangmyeong Ham of Korea set the standard early on with a breathless display of boxing. Rodriguez found some success with his right, but it was Ham who landed the cleaner punches and will now meet Chinese third seed Jiawei Zhang on Sunday.
Morocco’s Mohamed Hamout also progressed after getting his Rio 2016 campaign off to a flying start against Ukrainian Mykola Butsenko, but he will now face Cuba’s London 2012 Lightweight gold medallist Robeisy Ramirez for a place in the last eight after Ramirez controlled his bout against India’s Shiva Thapa.
The Light Welterweight (64kg) competition continued with Canada’s Arthur Biyarslanov winning a unanimous decision over Obada Alkasbeh of Jordan, and Turkey’s Batuhan Gozgec delivering a comprehensive victory against Cameroon’s Mahaman Smaila. Gozgec will now meet Brazil’s Joedison Teixeira, who exchanged quick combinations with Algeria’s Abdelkader Chadi early on before seizing the initiative, responding to the roars of the crowd to post a hard-earned win.
Moroccan Welterweight World Champion Mohammed Rabii’s first taste of Rio 2016 action came against Kenya’s experienced Rayton Okwiri, a Day Two winner against Russia’s Andrei Zamkovoi. After a tense opening round, Okwiri grew to his task with a brilliant second three minutes, but it was Rabii who showed all of his class to win the third.
Ireland’s Steven Donnelly then held off a stiff challenge from Mongolia’s Byamba Tuvshinbat to advance from a draining battle and set up a match with the Moroccan on Saturday. Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov looked in commanding form during his win over Lithuanian Eimantas Stanionis, before Cuba’s second Olympic champion of the day, Roniel Iglesias, took to the ring. Iglesias may have moved up to Welterweight (69kg) since his London 2012 gold, but he looked just as effective as he delivered a second round TKO to reach the last eight.
World Championship silver medallist Elshod Rasulov kept out of danger against Britain’s Josh Buatsi in the first round, but Buatsi had him on the canvas in the second and again in the third, leaving the referee no option but to halt the fight and send the crowds wild. The Brit will now face Algeria’s Abdelhafid Benchabala after he edged his contest with Venezuelan Albert Ramirez.
The evening session began with the Bantamweights (56kg) Alberto Melian of Argentina and Ghana’s Abdul Omar chasing a place in the second round. It was a strong start from Melian as he immediately looked to go on the offensive, and despite Omar edging the final three minutes, the Argentine had already done enough to win the judges’ decision, setting up a tie against Tunisia’s Bilel Mhamdi, unanimous winner against Lesotho’s Inkululeko Suntele.
Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev then delivered an assured performance against Azeri Javid Chalabiyev to complete the first round of the bantamweight competition. Yeraliyev repeatedly invited his opponent to attack before skilfully picking him off and, despite Chalabiyev finding more success in the third, the Kazakh registered the first of what would be three wins for his country in the session.
The second-round line-up for the Light Welterweight (64kg) competition was then completed as first Azeri Lorenzo Sotomayor comprehensively beat Ukraine’s Volodymyr Matviichuk before Hassan Amzile of France defeated Namibia’s Jonas Junias. Pat McCormack will meet Cuban second-seed Yasnier Toledo on Sunday evening for a place in the last eight after the Brit finished all three rounds strongly to earn a superb win over Kazakhstan’s former Youth and Junior World Champion Ablaikhan Zhusspov.
The final four names were then added to the Quarter-Finals of the Men’s Welterweight (69kg) line up and, with honours even after two rounds, France’s Souleymane Cissokho had enough left in the tank to deliver a strong last three minutes and edge out Azerbaijan third seed Parviz Baghrov.
Saylom Ardee sent the Thai boxing fans wild with a superb win over Bulgarian Simeon Chamov, before Venezuela’s Gabriel Maestre won by walkover against Italian Vincenzo Mangiacapre. He will now meet Kazakhstan’s former World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov, after he counter-attacked brilliantly time and again to come through a tough encounter with Britain’s Josh Kelly.
Thursday’s action came to a close with the Light Heavyweights (81kg) and an engaging battle between Azerbaijan’s Teymur Mammadov and Netherlands’ Peter Mullenberg. The Azeri’s brighter start saw him through to the last eight after a tense finale, where he will face London 2012 silver medallist seed Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan, comfortable winner over the Belarusian Mikhail Dauhaliavets.
Lightweight Quarter-Finalists confirmed and the Super Heavyweights make their Rio 2016 debut on Day Four of Olympic Boxing
Tuesday’s two sessions of Olympic Games Boxing offered up eight thrilling Lightweight (60kg) and Middleweight (75kg) bouts, as well as a first taste of Rio 2016 action for four of the eighteen Super Heavyweights (+91kg). It was a star-studded start to the day as Cuba’s triple World Lightweight Champion Lazaro Alvarez stepped into the ring, before Brazil’s Robson Conceição fired up the crowd and then Cameroon 18 year-old Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue and France’s Sofiane Oumiha delivered superb performances to keep their Olympic dreams alive.
In the day’s opening bout, Lazaro Alvarez produced yet another masterclass in tactical boxing against Italy’s Carmine Tommasone. The Cuban controlled proceedings from the second round, flooring Tommasone in the third with a powerful combination to put the result beyond any doubt. Carlos Balderas then came through a fascinating battle against Japan’s Daisuke Narimatsu as both boxers looked to come in close and land dozens of blows per round. Balderas scored the more meaningful punches as his powerful uppercuts found their target with increasing regularity, and the American’s hand was finally raised.
Britain’s Joe Cordina looked to frustrate the attacking instincts of opponent Hurshid Tojibaev, but his ducks and sways occasionally saw him get caught on the ropes as the Uzbek connected with some strong lefts. A warning in the second round evened out the scores, but with Cordina reluctant to get on the front foot, Tojibaev earned a unanimous win and his place in the last eight.
The arrival of Brazil’s Robson Conceição pushed the volume inside Riocentro Pavilion 6 even louder, and with IOC member Prince Frederik of Denmark watching on, the fans’ favourite delivered a swift TKO win against Tajikstan’s Anvar Yunusov to cruise into Friday’s Quarter-Finals.
The second day of Middleweight (75kg) competition saw Algerian Ilyas Abbadi earn a unanimous decision over Congo’s Mpi Ngamissengue, before Azeri medal hope Kamran Shakhsuvarly put in a gritty performance and claim a hard-earned victory over the imposing figure of China’s experienced Minggang Zhao.
Iraqi veteran boxer Waheed Abdulri Karaawi started well against Misael Rodriguez, but his opponent found the rhythm in the second round and the Mexican was able to power through to a unanimous win. A sparkling Olympic debut from 18 year-old Cameroonian Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue followed, as he kept his composure against Colombia’s Jorge Luis Vivas to earn a place in Friday’s second round, cueing spectacular celebrations.
Closing out the session was the first bout of the Super Heavyweight (+91kg) competition, and big-hitting Laurent Clayton of the US Virgin Islands against Germany’s Erik Pfeifer. Both boxers had spells of pressure and landed strong blows, but Clayton had the upper hand long enough to tip the judge’s split decision his way to the delight of the crowd of fellow Virgin Islanders.
Mongolia’s winner of the Asia and Oceania Qualification Event Otgondalai Dorjnyambuu faced Netherlands’ World Qualifier winner Enrico Lacruz in the first Lightweight (60kg) bout of the afternoon session. Lacruz edged the opening round, but Dorjnyambuu came back with an impressive finish that left the young Dutch boxer applauding his opponent’s tenacity as the judges awarded the Mogolian the decision.
Russia’s Adlan Abdurashidov proved an elusive target for sixth-seed Reda Benbaziz throughout much of their bout as both boxers struggled to find a rhythm, but the Algerian’s attacking instincts eventually brought him a deserved place in the last eight on Friday evening.
Two explosive athletes then entered the ring, with France’s Sofiane Oumiha and Thailand’s hugely experienced Amnat Ruenrog desperate for a Quarter-Final slot and a shot at an Olympic medal. Ruenrog began the brighter, but Oumiha grew in confidence and after the Thai received two referee counts in the second, the bout was eventually halted midway through the third and Oumiha was through.
The Lightweight Quarter-Final line-up was completed when Azerbaijan’s hugely experienced former World Champion Albert Selimov came through his tie against Irelands’s David Joyce. After a subdued opening three minutes, Joyce had to come out firing in the second and while his rapid combinations brought some success, Selimov exploited the resulting openings in the Irishman’s defences to earn a decisive victory and send out a serious claim on the Olympic gold.
Scoring punches may have been few and far between, but it was a gripping encounter that played out between the first Middleweight (75kg) pair of the afternoon, Maurician Mervin Clair and Egypt’s Hosam Abdin. The two feinted and flinched their ways out of trouble time and again, but it was the tenacious Egyptian who eventually stalked his way into the second round. A battling performance from India’s Krishan Vikas then saw him successfully negotiate a testing tie with American Charles Conwell.
Benny Muziyo’s long reach caused Turkey’s Onur Sipal a few problems early on, and as the experienced Turk got in close to score, Muziyo had him on the canvas at the end of the second round. The third round belonged to Sipal, however, and he powered in to the last 16 with some big-scoring combinations. Australian Daniel Lewis then became the last name in the second round of the Middleweight competition, as he overcame Poland’s tough Tomasz Jablonski.
Azerbaijan’s London 2012 Olympic Super Heavyweight (+91kg) bronze medallist Majidov Mahammadrasul and Morocco’s Mohammed Arjaoui were the last men into the ring on Tuesday, and it was a typically controlled performance from the Azeri double World Champion. Winning all three rounds on the judges’ scorecards, Mahammadrasul’s triumph earned him a place in the last sixteen against fellow 2012 bronze medallist, Kazakhstan’s Ivan Dychko.