The medal battles continued on Day 6 of the Asian Games in Incheon, where sixteen men secured their places in the semi-finals.
Korea’s most experienced boxer, London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist Han Soon Chul was eliminated by Jordan’s Obada Mohammad Al-Kasbeh in the biggest surprise of the day.
Bout of the day
Korea’s Han Soon Chul eliminated one of his biggest rivals, Thailand’s two-time Olympian and strong competitor Saylom Ardee in Incheon.
The 30-year-old Korean Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer was a medallist in the last two editions of the Asian Games in 2006 and in 2010, and was aiming for his first gold this time around.
Jordan’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships silver medallist Obada Mohammad Al-Kasbeh was his quarter-finals opponent after Jordan’s new spearhead eliminated Kazakhstan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Berik Abdrakhmanov in the first preliminary round.
The 20-year-old Al-Kasbeh shocked the Korean athlete with his ferocity in the opening round, but Han was able to renew his tactic and equalized the hectic battle at the end of the second round.
After his efforts in the second round, the host nation’s top boxer was too tired in the final frame, and Al-Kasbeh was able to win the last round and their battle in the front of the Korean crowd which was a real surprise on Day 6.
Team of the day
Four boxers from Uzbekistan had to step into the ring on the sixth competition day, and all of their young hopes advanced to the next stage of the Asian Games.
Uzbekistan’s Sportaccord World Combat Games winner Shakhobiddin Zoirov started their winning path in Incheon when he was too strong for India’s newcomer Gaurav Bidhuri in the first quarter-final of the Flyweight class (52 kg).
Their new Welterweight class (69 kg) team member Israil Madrimov is their youngest hope in the selected squad, and the 19-year-old ASBC Asian Youth Continental Championships silver medallist demonstrated his weapons against Japan’s London 2012 Olympian Yasuhiro Suzuki in the quarter-finals.
Madrimov is the current Uzbek National Champion in that weight class, but he is not so experienced at the elite level yet.
In spite of his lack of experiences, he was able to knock down his Japanese opponent and advanced to the semi-finals.
Hurshidbek Normatov was a silver medallist at the Summer Universiade in Kazan, Russia one year ago, and he also competed at the 2013 AIBA World Boxing Championships where only Cuba’s star Arisnoide Despaigne was able to beat him in a close contest.
The Uzbek boxer then moved up to the Middleweight class (75 kg), and the 22-year-old rising hope was at a different level than Tajikistan’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships silver medallist Navruz Jafoev in his opening bout in the Asian Games.
Uzbekistan’s fourth victory on Day 6 was achieved by AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist and ASBC Asian Continental Champion Oybek Mamazulunov at the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) in Incheon.
The 25-year-old Uzbek boxer stormed into the top of the category only last year, but his punches are among the most powerful in world boxing.
Mamazulunov knocked down his opponent, Lebanon’s veteran Najd Salloum and advanced to the semi-finals.
Surprises of the day
Iraq’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist Waheed Abderredha has claimed several medals in international tournaments in the recent years,and arrived to the Asian Games as a medal contender.
The Middleweight class (75 kg) had to meet with Philippines’ Korotkov Memorial Tournament silver medallist Wilfredo Lopez. Abderredha for a place in the quarter-final, but could not find the fighting distance in their bout, and the Filipino boxer used up his advantages to beat the Iraqi opponent.
Kyrgyzstan’s defending ASBC Asian Continental Champion and Sidney Jackson Memorial Tournament winner Azat Usenaliev was the top favourite of the Flyweight class (52 kg) in Incheon, but he was defeated by Pakistan’s Commonwealth Games silver medallist Muhammad Waseem which was a huge surprise of the sixth competition day.
Usenaliev was injured within in the first minute, and therefore the ringside doctor stopped the bout after 28 seconds of the fight.
Ones to watch
Turkmenistan’s Serdar Hudayberdiyev joined the national squad in 2004, and reached his career highlight in the year of 2009 when he claimed the gold medal at the ASBC Asian Continental Championships in Zhuhai and reached the Top 8 at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Milan where he was seeded.
The 28-year-old boxer moved up to the Welterweight class (69 kg), and is proving his very best once again in Incheon.
By defeating Iran’s London 2012 Olympian Amin Ghasemipour he has bagged at least a bronze, and his next opponent will be Kazakhstan’s AIBA World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov.
Korea’s first men’s boxing medal was achieved by Kim Hyeong Kyu who also claimed a gold medal at the 2011 ASBC Asian Continental Championships in Incheon.
The Korean boxer arrived to the venue in top form following his gold at the China Open Tournament which he achieved in Guiyang in July, and the 22-year-old Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) boxer enjoyed a lot of attacks against Turkmenistan’s Arslanbek Achilov.
Kim won all of the rounds while his Central Asian opponent who also received a warning, and the host nation’s hope will now meet Uzbekistan’s strong Oybek Mamazulunov.
Stat/Fact of the day
Sixteen men’s boxers secured a guaranteed medal in the Asian Games where the following nations took the places in the semi-finals:
Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan: 3 boxers
Japan: 2 boxers
Iran, Jordan, Korea, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Turkmenistan: 1 boxer
Thirty bouts are on the official program of Day 7 in the Asian Games, where the women’s part of the competition turned sees the semi-final contests.
The winners of the six women’s bouts will advance to the final of the boxing tournament, while further twenty-four men will be bagging their podium places in the Seonhak Gymnasium.