The first stage of boxing at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games took place today in Toronto, Canada where twelve incredible bouts opened the competition in spectacular fashion.
Many of the contests on Day 1 established who would qualify for the quarter-final stages, while the winners of the four Heavyweight (91 kg) bouts all advanced through to the semi-finals, and earned a guaranteed gold medal as a result.
Bout of the day
Colombia’s defending AMBC American Continental Champion and Pan American Games Qualifier winner Deivis Julio turned 35 earlier this year, but the veteran boxer expertly displayed that he is in the best form of his career after defeating Ecuador’s Julio Castillo in a thrilling Heavyweight (91 kg) quarter-final shootout.
Torres recently won four fights in Season V of the World Series of Boxing (WSB), but could not compete with the speed and skill of his older Colombian opponent.
Julio’s stamina and strength was excellent throughout the contest, and he soaked up the immense pressure from his decorated rival with sublime ease to earn the first boxing medal of the Games.
Team of the day
Costa Rica had two boxers in action on the opening day, and they both emerged victorious despite facing difficult opposition.
21-year-old Eduardo Sanchez has already competed in more than 100 bouts in his career, and the Light Welterweight (64 kg) boxer met with Guatemalan prospect Carlos Tobar in the opening preliminary round.
After a close and competitive fight, the early work of Sanchez enabled him to enjoy a decision victory and a place in the quarter-final.
Sanchez’s teammate Jason Ramirez earned a silver medallist in the Pan American Games Qualifier last month, and started the main tournament well with a strong Middleweight (75 kg) success over Canada’s Clovis Drolet.
Surprises of the day
United States’ Pan American Games Qualifier silver medallist Melik Elliston was the favourite in his Light Flyweight (49 kg) match with Guatemala’s Alvaro Vargas, but suffered a surprise defeat in his opening match of the competition.
The long reach of Vargas enabled him to move in and out of range against Elliston, and his hard work and clever attacks resulted in a unanimous decision victory for the 25-year-old.
Peru’s Jorvi Farronan also enjoyed an unexpected result on Day 1 when he eliminated Venezuela’s Jose Diaz who won two matches last season in WSB.
The Peruvian southpaw used excellent hooks and uppercuts in their Bantamweight (56 kg) bout, and will now meet US teenager Francisco Martinez after his splendid unanimous decision win.
One to watch
Canadian Heavyweight Samir El Mais only began boxing six years ago, but the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medalist enjoyed a dream opening day in Toronto after beating Brazil’s Cheo Aponte Tournament winner Juan Nogueira Goncalves.
El Mais was under pressure due to the earlier eliminations of teammates P.G. Tondo and Clovis Drolet, but the man known as “Sweet Sammy” gave the home crowd much to enjoy as he survived some difficult moments to advance to the last four where he is guaranteed at least a bronze medal.
Fact of the day
120 men’s and women’s boxers are taking part in the Games, and the biggest delegations are from the United States of America, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Brazil.
The four medals earned at Heavyweight were all achieved by “C” alphabet countries Canada, Chile, Colombia and Cuba.
Quotes of the day
“My winning tactic was using my boxing skills today. In the first round I began boxing and throwing combinations, but in the second round I made a mistake by staying in the front of my opponent, so in the final three minutes we went back to boxing. All respect to my opponent for his effort. I am satisfied with the win, but I know I can fight better. It was not my best fight, but we will study the positives and negatives and focus on my Cuban opponent on Tuesday,” said US hope Luis Feliciano after eliminating Bahamas’ Rashield Williams in the preliminary round of the Light Welterweight class (64 kg).
“I felt good, strong and confident today. As we discussed with my coach, I had to work from long range and move back to avoid his strong punches. I think I was a hard target to my opponent, and my counter-attacks worked well,” commented Guatemala’s Alvaro Vargas who delivered the main surprise of Day 1.
A further twelve bouts will be held on the second competition day of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, as the Men’s Flyweight (52 kg), Lightweight (60 kg), Welterweight (69 kg), Light Heavyweight (81 kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91 kg) classes will all be in action.