Monday at Riocentro Pavilion 6 saw the second Olympic Boxing Final of Rio 2016, with Russian World Champion Evgeny Tishchenko and Kazakhstan’s Vassily Levit going for gold.
It was Levit who started the brightest, edging the first round with some superb attacking combinations, but Tishchenko’s longer reach always looked a threat. A strong final round from the Russian proved decisive, and Tishchenko’s arm was raised to the delight of his corner and the hundreds of Russian fans in the arena.
Earlier in the day, the crowds were treated to four bouts from the Women’s Lightweight (60kg) competition, the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) preliminaries, two Men’s Welterweight (69kg) Semi-Finals, and four Men’s Middleweight (75kg) Quarter-Finals.
London 2012 Champion Katie Taylor faced Mira Potkonen in the opening bout, and the experienced Fin looked to take the match to her Irish opponent from the outset. At the end of four gripping rounds of boxing, it was Potkonen who earned a deserved win against the defending champion, progressing to Wednesday’s Semi-Final and guaranteeing Finland’s first Olympic boxing podium finish since 1992. Next up she will face Yin Junhua for a place in the Final after the 25 year-old from China beat Azeri Yana Alekseevna by unanimous decision.
Alekseevna’s compatriot, reigning World Champion Elvin Mamishzada, registered an impressive win against Kazakhstan’s Olzhas Sattibayev in the first of the day’s Men’s Flyweight (52kg) preliminaries, before Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov defeated the USA’s Antonio Vargas.
Great Britain’s Muhamed Ali faced Venezuelan Yoel Finol in the fifth bout of the day, and the South American again impressed on his way to a unanimous victory to set up a tough last-sixteen tie with Algeria’s experienced Mohamed Flissi, winner over Bulgarian Daniel Asanov.
The crowd then sprang into life for an engaging Welterweight Semi-Final between Moroccan World Champion Mohammad Rabii and Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov. With a place in Wednesday’s gold-medal match up for grabs, Giyasov asserted himself from the first bell, stunning Rabii early on with a big right, and the tough Uzbek looked to have found his rhythm perfectly as he powered on to a unanimous win.
Two Men’s Middleweight contests wrapped up the session, with Cuba’s 23 year-old reigning World Champion Arlen Lopez going up against French 19 year-old Christian Mbilli. Mbilli refused to be intimidated as the two exchanged fierce uppercuts in a brilliant opening round, but it was Lopez who created the advantage and was able to maintain it over the three rounds. The Cuban now faces Azeri Kamran Shakhsuvarly, winner by split decision of a tight bout with Kazakhstan’s Zhanibek Alimkhanuly.
The first two bouts of the evening session completed the line up of the Women’s Lightweight (60kg) Semi-Final, with Russia’s Anastasiia Beliakova and American Mikaela Mayer vying for a place on the podium. Both looked to use their long reach to establish superiority, but it was Beliakova who found the target more cleanly, and is now guaranteed at least an Olympic bronze.
Also into Wednesday’s semis is French World Champion Estelle Mossely, after she posted an impressive win against 18 year-old Italian Irma Testa. Mossely was the more attacking of the two throughout, giving Testa little room to express herself and going on to earn a unanimous win from the judges.
Four bouts then concluded the Men’s Flyweight preliminaries, and it wasn’t a straightforward first foray in the Rio 2016 ring for Russia’s two-time World Champion Misha Aloian, who was made to work hard for his win against the energetic Elie Konki of France. Aloian goes on to meet Ceiber Avila on Wednesday afternoon after the Colombian controlled his bout against Mexico’s Elias Emigdio Abarca.
China’s World Championship bronze medalist Hu Jinguan then came through a tough battle with Armenia’s Narek Abgaryan to set up a last-sixteen showdown against Cuba’s Yosbany Veitia, unanimous winner over Moroccan Achraf Kharroubi.
Monday’s second Men’s Welterweight Semi-Final followed between Souleymane Cissokho and Kazakhstan’s former World Champion Daniyar Yelussinov for a place in the gold medal match, and it was the Kazakh’s positive start that saw him through to the final against Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov on Wednesday afternoon.
In the session’s two Men’s Middleweight (75kg) Quarter-Finals, Mexico’s Misael Rodriguez defeated Egyptian veteran Hosam Hussein to guarantee himself at least a bronze, Mexico’s first Olympic Boxing medal since Cristian Bejarano’s bronze at Sydney 2000. Rodriguez meets the Uzbek World Championship runner-up Bektemir Melikuziev for a place in the final after his win against India’s Krishan Vikas.