The first stage of the men’s semi-finals was held on the fifth competition day at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, as the finalists of the Light Flyweight (49 kg), Bantamweight (56 kg), Light Welterweight (64 kg), Middleweight (75 kg) and Heavyweight  (91 kg) classes were determined.

Bout of the day

Cuba’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Yasnier Toledo Lopez claimed medals in the last two editions of the AIBA World Boxing Championships, while he has also produced great performances in the last two seasons of the World Series of Boxing (WSB).

His opponent on Day 5 was Brazil’s Pan American Games Qualifier winner Joedison De Jesus Teixeira, who emerged as a potential star in 2012 when he won the South American Games.

Both boxers have dazzling, virtuoso styles which made their Light Welterweight semi-final a spectacular contest in Toronto.

Teixeira tried to use his speed in the opening frame, while Toledo relied on his superior footwork to create angles for attacks.

The exemplary defence of the Cuban established a barrier between himself and his Brazilian opponent, and he pulled ahead in the remaining two rounds after some superb boxing.

Toledo’s eventual victory was well deserved, but Teixeira also proved he has a very bright future in this sport.

Team of the day

The Cuban delegation won all five of their semi-finals on the fifth competition day in Toronto, beginning with a Light Flyweight triumph for 18-year-old sensation Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez.

Argilagos is the youngest boxer in the entire competition, but the AIBA Junior World Champion gained valuable experience in WSB last season, and impressed in his victory with Venezuela’s Yoel Finol Rivas.

He will now meet defending Pan American Games gold medalist Joselito Velasquez in the final after the Mexican eliminated Dominican Republic’s Victor Daniel Santillan.

Cuba’s second finalist became Bantamweight Andy Cruz Gomez, after the 20-year-old edged a narrow bout against Canada’s AMBC American Continental Championships silver medallist Kenny Lally.

Cruz next has a tough Bantamweight final in store against Dominican Republic’s talented Hector Luis Garcia.

Following Toledo’s triumph over Teixeira, the fourth Cuban victory was delivered by their Middleweight number one Arlen Lopez Cardona.

The current Central American & Caribbean Games champion used his ample reach to keep the distance against Venezuela’s Endri Saavedra, and his tactic resulted in a well deserved success.

Cuba’s fifth and final victory was acquired by London 2012 Olympian Erislandy Savon Cotilla, who controlled his semi-final against Chile’s Miguel Angel Veliz.

Savon’s final opponent will be Colombia’s defending AMBC American Continental Champion Deivis Julio.

Surprise of the day

Canada’s Arthur Biyarslanov enjoyed a great youth career, but the Light Welterweight athlete was not the favourite in his semi-final against Venezuela’s AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist WSB boxer Luis Arcon.

Despite his underdog status, Biyarslanov was well supported by his home fans in Toronto, and used their adulation to achieve a sensational victory against the odds.

The Round-Up

Dominican Republic’s Central American & Caribbean Games silver medallist Hector Luis has won more than 90% of his international contests, and added to that tally with a composed win over United States’ WSB boxer Francisco Martinez.

Luis used his height advantage to great effect against the US teenager, with his footwork and movement a joy to watch at times.

Colombia’s current AMBC American Continental Champion and Pan American Games Qualifier winner Jorge Luis Vivas arrived in Toronto as a gold medal favourite of the men’s Middleweight class, and lived up to his reputation with a sterling win over Mexico’s Central American & Caribbean Games silver medallist Misael Rodriguez.

Both athletes engaged in a ferocious battle which saw each man take the upper hand at times, but it was the work of the Colombian which impressed the judges, and he will now fight  Cuba’s Arlen Lopez in an eagerly awaited gold medal clash.

Fact of the day

Following the six women’s boxers who advanced through to their finals on Day 4, a further ten men’s competitors secured their place in the finals of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games today.

So far, 16 boxers will participate in the gold medal bouts from the following nations:

  • Cuba: 5 finalists
  • Canada: 3 finalists
  • Colombia, Dominican Republic, United States of America: 2 finalists
  • Argentina, Mexico: 1 finalist

Quotes of the day

“I arrived to the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games with great expectations, and I want to be a champion here. I felt fine today, and I think I had a great performance against the tough US boxer. I am still in the competition and hoping to win the gold medal in this big tournament,” said Dominican Republic’s Hector Luis Garcia after his semi-final.

“I am happy with my win in Toronto, and I boxed more technically rather than aggressive and heavy. Overall, I am happy with my performance and the result as well. I felt the power of the crowd and I heard them during the whole fight, which made me push myself even harder. I can’t wait for my final on Friday,” commented Canada’s new hero Arthur Biyarslanov.

Tomorrow’s program

The second stage of the men’s semi-finals will be held on the sixth competition day of the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games tomorrow.