Tuesday’s morning session at the Olympic Games Boxing Tournament offered up four thrilling Lightweight (60kg) and Middleweight (75kg) bouts, as well as a first Rio 2016 appearance for the Super Heavyweight (+91kg) boxers. It was a star-studded start to the day as Cuba’s triple World Lightweight Champion Lazaro Alvarez stepped into the ring, before Brazil’s Robson Conceição fired up the crowd and Cameroon 18 year-old Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue delivered one of the performances of the session to reach the Middleweight second round.
Alvarez produced yet another masterclass in tactical boxing against Italy’s Carmine Tommasone, after the bout got off to a considered start with experienced European pro getting a first good look at his opponent. Alvarez controlled proceedings from the second round, however, flooring Tommasone in the third with a powerful combination that put the result beyond any doubt.
Carlos Balderas then came through a fascinating battle against Japan’s Daisuke Narimatsu. Both boxers looked to come in close and landed dozens of blows per round, each enjoying spells of dominance in an exhausting encounter. Balderas landed the more meaningful punches as his powerful uppercuts found their target with increasing regularity, and the American’s hand was finally raised.
Joe Cordina looked to frustrate the attacking instincts of opponent Hurshid Tojibaev, but his ducks and sways occasionally saw him caught on the ropes as the Uzbek connected with some strong lefts. A warning in the second round evened out the scores, but with Cordina reluctant to get on the front foot, Tojibaev earned a unanimous win and his place in the last eight.
The arrival of Brazil’s Robson Conceição pushed the volume inside Riocentro Pavilion 6 even louder, and with IOC member Prince Frederik of Denmark watching on, the fans’ favourite delivered a swift TKO win against Tajikstan’s Anvar Yunusov to cruise into Friday’s Quarter-Finals.
The second day of Middleweight (75kg) competition saw Algerian Ilyas Abbadi earn a unanimous decision over Congo’s Mpi Ngamissengue, before Azeri medal hope Kamran Shakhsuvarly put in a gritty performance for a hard-earned victory over the imposing figure of China’s experienced Minggang Zhao.
Iraq veteran boxer Waheed Abdulri Karaawi started well against Misael Rodriguez, but his opponent found the rhythm in the second round and the Mexican was able to power through to a unanimous win. It was a sparkling Olympic debut from 18 year-old Cameroonian Dieudonne Seyi Ntsengue as he kept his composure against Colombia’s Jorge Luis Vivas to earn a place in Friday’s second round, cueing spectacular celebrations.
Closing out the session was the first bout of the Super Heavyweight (+91kg) competition, and big-hitting Laurent Clayton of the US Virgin Islands against Germany’s Erik Pfeifer. Both boxers had spells of pressure and landed strong blows, but Clayton had the upper hand long enough to tip the judge’s split decision his way to the delight of the crowd of fellow Virgin Islanders.