The official draw for the Rio 2016 Olympic Boxing Tournament took place in Barra da Tijuca on Thursday morning, watched by technical commissions from the 76 nations taking part and the world’s media ahead of one of the most eagerly anticipated events at Rio 2016.
AIBA Executive Director Karim Bouzidi opened the event that gave the first indication of the Olympic destiny of the 286 competitors whose names went in to the draw. The competition will run from 6-21 August, held in Riocentro Pavilion 6.
Rio 2016 Boxing Technical Delegate Helmut Ranze led the draw, starting with the Women’s Flyweights (51kg), where Britain’s Nicola Adams, the first of three defending women champions in action in Rio, will start the defence of her title against the winner between Bulgarian Stanimira Petrova and Tetyana Kob of Ukraine. At Lightweight (60kg), London 2012 champion Katie Taylor of Ireland could face Brazil’s Adriana Araujo in the second round, while World Champion Estelle Mossely will meet the winner of the first round bout between Italy’s Irma Testa and Australian Shelley Marie Watts on 12 August. The USA’s Claressa Shields will be hoping to feature in the Middleweight (75kg) final on 21 August, but a tough top half of the draw includes Morocco’s Khadija Mardi and Canadian Ariane Fortin.
The very first bout of the tournament on the morning of 6 August will be the Light Flyweight (49kg) contest between Britain’s Galal Yafai and Cameroon’s Simplice Fotsala, with the winner going on to face top-seed Johanys Argilagos of Cuba two days later. A tough, 26-strong Flyweight (52kg) field sees Azeri top seed Elvin Mamishzade in the same half of the draw as USA’s Antonio Vargas, Britain’s Muhammad Ali and Algerian Mohamed Flissi, while second and third-seeds Yosbany Veitia of Cuba and Russi’s Misha Aloian could be on course for a potential semi-final showdown.
At Bantamweight, Uzbek second-seed Murodjon Akhmadaliev’s bye will see him face Kazakhstan’s Kairat Yeraliyev or Azeri Javid Chalabiyev on 14 August, while US medal hope Shakur Stevenson will get his Olympic campaign underway against the winner between Algeria’s Fahem Hammachi and Brazilian Robenilson de Jesus. De Jesus’ Lightweight (60kg) compatriot Robson Conceição begins his third pursuit of Olympic gold on 9 August against the winner of the opening day’s bout between China’s Jun Shan and Tajikstan’s Anvar Yunusov.
In the Light Welterweight (64kg) competition, Cuban second-seed Yasniel Toledo will meet either Britain’s Pat McCormack or Kazakhstan’s Ablaikhan Zhussupov in the second round on 14 August, with Russian top-seed Vitaly Dunaytsev another favourite for gold. Morocco’s Mohammed Rabii and Cuban Roniel Iglesias find themselves in the same half of the Welterweight (69kg) draw, and both will have designs on the gold-medal match on 17 August. Cuban Middleweight (75kg) Arlen Lopez and Russia’s Artem Chebotarev could be on course for a semi-final showdown on 18 August, though the likes of Ecuador’s Marlo Delgado and Frenchman Christian Mbilli could prove stiff opposition.
Cuban captain and Light Heavyweight (81kg) medal hopeful Julio Cesar la Cruz gets his Olympic campaign underway on 10 August against the winner out of Mehmet Nadir Unal of Turkey and Moroccan Hassan Saada, while of the 18 Heavyweight (91kg) boxers beginning the competition, Kazakhstan’s experienced Vassily Levit and Clemente Russo of Italy will be looking to push Russian top-seed Evgeny Tishchenko all the way. The final gold medal of Rio 2016 will be awarded at Super Heavyweight (+91kg), where France’s World Champion Tony Yoka and the runner-up in Doha, Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan, are at opposite ends of a draw that also features the talent of Britain’s Joe Joyce, Cuba’s Leinier Pero and the Croatian Filip Hrgovic.