Day Six of the Rio 2016 Boxing Tournament saw 19 nations competing across four weight categories; Bantamweight (56kg), Light Welterweight (64kg), Welterweight (68kg) and Light Heavyweight (81kg). Morocco’s World Champion Mohammed Rabii got his Olympics off to a strong start, but it was Josh Buatsi’s explosive win against experienced Uzbek Elshod Rasulov that the session will be remembered for.
The Bantamweights (56kg) got Thursday’s action 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 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 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.
Morocco’s World Welterweight Champion Mohammed Rabii’s first taste of Rio 2016 action came against Kenya’s experienced Rayton Okwiri, 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 world champion on Saturday. Uzbekistan’s Shakhram Giyasov looked in commanding form in 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 medal, but 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. Buatsi will now face Algeria’s Abdelhafid Benchabala after he edged his contest with Venezuelan Albert Ramirez.