Four weight classes were in action on Day Three of the Rio 2016 Boxing Competition, with eight crucial bouts deciding the quarter-finalists at Light Flyweight (49kg) and Heavyweight (91kg) as well four bouts at Welterweight (69kg) and Middleweight (75kg) across the two sessions.
If the morning belonged to Spain’s Samuel Heredia following his victory over Irish second-seed Patrick Barnes, then the evening was Kazakhstan’s time to shine, as the team secured three superb wins.
The day began with the confident figure of Cuban Johanys Argilagos delivering a brilliant Olympic debut that suggested he will take some stopping in his quest for the Light Flyweight gold. Argilagos’ first opponent, Britain’s Galal Yafai, tried to take the match to the 19 year-old sensation, but even a brilliant last round from the Brit wasn’t enough as the split decision went to Cuba’s newest star.
Kenya’s Peter Warui put in two superb rounds to earn an unassailable lead against Lu Bin, picking a way through the Chinese boxer’s defence and absorbing his counter-attacks effectively. A late rally from Bin couldn’t turn the tide, and Warui’s reward for a hard-earned win is a Quarter-Final on Wednesday morning against Argilagos.
Yurberjen Martinez halted Brazil’s Patrick Lourenço on the opening day of the Games, and after two rounds there was nothing to choose between the Colombian and Thailand’s Rogen Ladon. As the third drew to a climax, Martinez appeared to tire, but he dug deep to produce the stronger finish and march into the last eight.
It was a case of experience versus sheer determination in the final Light Flyweight bout of the session, with Ireland’s two-time Olympic bronze medallist Patrick Barnes facing Spain’s resilient Samuel Carmona Heredi. Neither boxer was prepared to cede the centre of the ring in a contest of pure attrition and dozens of blows exchanged per round, and after going in to the third with honours even, Heredi was able to find another gear and a path into the quarters.
In the session’s two Welterweight (69kg) bouts, Bulgaria’s Simeon Chamov used his considerable height advantage effectively against Onur Sipal of Turkey, before Venezuelan Gabriel Maestre delivered a brilliant performance against Germany’s Arajik Marutjan to join the Bulgarian in the second round.
A strong start from Hungary’s Zoltan Harcsa in the first of the Rio 2016 Middlweight (75kg) contests quickly became an unassailable lead against Turkmenistan’s Arslanbek Achilov, putting the European into a tough second-round tie with Cuban World Champion Arlen Lopez.
Four Heavyweight (91kg) bouts closed out the session, and signalled the return of Day One home-crowd hero Juan Nogueira, given the tall order of toppling Russian number-one seed Evgeny Tishchenko. Brazilian Nogueira looked to come in close and diffuse Tishchenko’s height advantage at every opportunity, landing some big uppercuts along the way, but Tishchenko stood firm to win the first two rounds, leaving Nogueira to put on a brave final flourish for his thousands of fans as he bowed out of the competition.
After going behind to Tunisian Hassen Chaktami, Italy’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Clemente Russo used all his experience to come back strongly and book his place in the Quarter-Finals. He was joined by the Uzbek Rustam Tulaganov, a comfortable winner over Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo, and Azeri Abdulkadir Abdullayev, winner over France’s second boxer of the session, Paul Biongolo.
Monday’s evening session got underway with two blistering rounds from Uzbekistan’s Light Flyweight (49kg) Hasanboy Dusmatov against Joselito Velazquez, helping him carve out a lead that the Mexican’s late rally could not overturn. Dusmatov will now meet the experienced Kazakh Birzhan Zhakypov in the last eight, whose third Olympic Games got off to a winning start against Namibian Mathias Hamunyela.
Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo will meet USA’s Nico Hernandez for a Light Flyweight Semi-Final spot after both came through testing evening-session bouts. Following a bye in the first round, the Ecuadorian was made to work hard to overcome Mongolian Gan-Erdene Gankhuyag, while Hernandez looked in sparkling form during his win against Russian Vasilli Egorov.
The second round line-up of the Welterweight (69kg) competition was then completed as Italy’s Vincenzo Mangiacapre edged past Mexico’s Juan Pablo Romero and then, in the battle of the Olympic debutants, Britain’s Josh Kelly controlled his bout against Egypt’s Walid Mohamed, setting up a showdown with Kazakhstan’s former World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov.
In the evening’s first Middleweight (75kg) encounter, Ecuador’s Marlo Delgado built on his London 2012 Olympic experience with an impressive but draining win over Venezuela’s Endry Saavedra. Kazakhstan’s former World Champion Zhanibek Alimkhanuly also progressed, putting Anthony Fowler on the canvas early in the second round with one of several powerful lefts to which the Brit could summon no answer.
Four Heavyweight bouts rounded off another superb day of boxing, with Vassily Levit clearly enjoying his Rio 2016 debut, stalking China’s Fengkai Yu for two-and-a-half rounds before the referee awarded the Kazakh a stirring TKO victory. Levit will meet Kennedy St Pierre in Wednesday’s Quarter-Finals after he saw off Algerian Chouaib Bouloudinats with some fierce blows to edge a split decision.
A brilliant third round from Yamil Peralta saw the Argentine safely through a tough bout against Germany’s David Graf, but he will now face an even trickier last-eight tie with Cuba’s tough Erislandy Savon, who once again looked in great form against British rival Lawrence Okolie in the final bout of the day.