The fifth competition day of the Asian Games saw plenty of surprises, as well as an ample amount of world class boxing in Incheon.
Vietnam’s women’s squad, and Kyrgyzstan’s men’s boxers produced some excellent performances, as twelve women’s athletes secured at least a bronze medal.
Bout of the day
Philippines has excellent traditions in the Light Flyweight class (49 kg), with previous team members including Roel Velasco, Mansueto Velasco and Harry Tannamor among the globe’s best athletes at one time in that class.
Their current number one is Sidney Jackson Memorial Tournament winner and London 2012 Olympian Mark Anthony Barriga, who is a great prospect of the country and a medal contender in Incheon.
The 21-year-old athlete began his competition against Syria’s Hussin Al-Masri, and won his opening bout in the Asian Games.
His second opponent was Japan’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist Tosho Kashiwasaki, who has been biding his time for a spot in the national team.
The Japanese athlete used some great combinations in the opening minutes, but Barriga also produced some quality moments in the tactical first round.
Barriga turned up the heat in the second round, and his attacks improved as the fight progressed, which resulted for him a close triumph over a technical rival.
Team of the day
Kyrgyzstan’s Great Silk Way Tournament winner Turat Osmonov had to meet with Iraq’s Konakbayev Tournament gold medallist Hasan Ali Naser in the opening round of the Men’s Light Flyweight class (49 kg).
Osmonov has developed well over the past year, and has defeated strong Ukrainian, Azeri, Russian and Kazakh athletes in recent times.
Kyrgyzstan’s promising boxer won all of the rounds against the tough Iraqi athlete could not find his successful footwork against Osmonov.
ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist and Sportaccord World Combat Games winner Ermek Sakenov controlled the opening round against Kazakhstan’s Aidar Amirzakov, who was a gold medallist in the 2011 ASBC Asian Continental Championships in Incheon.
The Kazakh boxer knocked down his neighbouring rival in the second round, but Sakenov showed great resilience to get back up, and to win the last round which meant he eliminated one of the best boxers of the Light Welterweight class (64 kg).
Surprises of the day
Vietnam’s National Champion Le Thi Bang has moved down to the Flyweight class (51 kg), and the boxer had to meet with Philippines’ first AIBA Women’s World Champion Josie Gabuco in Incheon.
Surprisingly she was able to control their bout from the first round, as Le Thi Bang shocked the Filipino in the quarter-finals of the category, bagging herself a guaranteed medal in the Asian Games.
DPR Korea’s former AIBA Women’s World Championships silver medallist Ri Hyang Mi won all of her bouts over the past 18 months, establishing herself among the gold medal contenders of the Women’s Flyweight class (51 kg) in Incheon.
Despite her impressive recent form, she could not repeat her previous performances in the quarter-finals where Kazakhstan’s ASBC Asian Women’s Continental Champion Zhaina Shekerbekova used aggressive tactics against the North Korean athlete, with the final verdict of their bout a unanimous decision victory for Shekerbekova.
Tajikistan’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist and AIBA Women’s World Championships bronze medallist Mavzuna Choriyeva arrived in Incheon as one of the top favourites of the Women’s Lightweight class (60 kg).
Her reputation was not enough against Vietnam’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Championships silver medallist Luu Thi Duyen in Incheon, as the tallest boxer of the weight class, Luu kept the fighting distance and used her longer reach against Choriyeva and eliminated her star rival in the Asian Games.
Ones to watch
China’s Li Qian defeated her teammate, and former AIBA Women’s World Champion Li Jinzhi twice in the national selection events, which saw her receive the right to compete in a major international event for the very first time.
The China Open Tournament winner was highly motivated in her opening bout against Sri Lanka’s ASBC Asian Continental Championships bronze medallist Dapana Durage Shiromali Weerarathna in the opening round and dominated their battle.
Li’s lethal punch in the second round ended the bout which was the first knockout of the whole boxing tournament in Incheon.
China’s World Cup of Petroleum Countries Tournament gold medallist Yin Junhua also won the China Open Tournament in July, and she eliminated Philippines’ Southeast Asian Games winner Nesthy Petecio in the quarter-final of that competition.
The 24-year-old Lightweight class (60 kg) star controlled their rematch from the first round, and though the last remaining Filipino women’s boxer had some great moments in the second part of the bout, she was not able to turn back the contest in her favour.
Kazakhstan’s defending AIBA World Champion Birzhan Zhakipov was a silver medallist in the last edition of the Asian Games four years ago, and travelled to Incheon with gold on his mind.
The tall Light Flyweight class (49 kg) boxer was too strong for Pakistan’s Commonwealth Games competitor Mohibullah Bacha, and Zhakipov’s next opponent will be Malaysia’s Agong Cup winner Mohamed Fuad Bin Mohamed Redzuan.
His main rivals in Incheon, Korea’s AIBA World Championships silver medallist Shin Jong Hun and Uzbekistan’s Summer Universiade winner Hasanboy Dusmatov also both advanced through to the quarter-finals.
Stat/Fact of the day
India secured three guaranteed medals in the women’s part of the boxing tournament on the fifth competition day in Incheon.
China, Kazakhstan and Vietnam have two medals, while DPR Korea, hosts Korea and Mongolia have one women’s hope remaining in the semi-finals.
Twenty four bouts are on the official program of the sixth competition day in Incheon, where the quarter-finalists of the Men’s Flyweight class (52 kg), Men’s Lightweight class (60 kg), Men’s Welterweight class (69 kg) and Men’s Light Heavyweight class (81 kg) will be in action.
The second preliminary round of the Men’s Middleweight class (75 kg) is also on the schedule of Day 6.