Two bouts from the Women’s Lightweight (60kg) competition kicked off Monday’s action inside Riocentro Pavilion 6, with Katie Taylor beginning the defence of her London 2012 title followed by the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) preliminaries, the first of the day’s two Men’s Welterweight (69kg ) Semi-Finals, and two Middleweight (75kg) Quarter-Finals.
London 2012 Champion Taylor faced Mira Potkonen in Monday’s opening bout, and the experienced Fin looked to take the match to her opponent from the outset. At the end of four gripping rounds of boxing, it was Potkonen who earned a deserved win against, progressing to Wednesday’s Semi-Final and guaranteeing Finland’s first Olympic boxing medal since 1992.
“It was a really tough match against Taylor and I’m pretty exhausted. I’m not thinking about gold, I prefer to take it one match at a time, but I am happy how today went,” said Potkonen afterwards. 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 American 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 Asenov.
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 looks to have found his Olympic rhythm 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.