It was a memorable session of Olympic Boxing on Saturday morning, as the Men’s Olympic Flyweight (52kg) competition got up and running with four preliminary bouts followed by two Welterweight (69kg) Quarter-Finals, a Heavyweight semi and the return of the Super Heavyweights (+91kg), including a first appearance from current World Champion Tony Yoka.
Kazakhstan’s Olzhas Sattibayev got the action underway with an emphatic win over Puerto Rico’s Jeyvier Cintron, setting up an exciting second round tie with top-seed Alvin Mamishzada on Monday. Brendan Irvine then struggled to contain the formidable firepower of Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zhoiroz, and although the Irishman found some rhythm as his Olympic debut wore on, the Uzbek registered a comfortable win and now meets USA’s Antonio Vargas, winner against Brazil’s Juliao Neto.
Venezuela’s Yoel Finol was in sparkling form as he negotiated a tough bout against the lively Dominican Leonel Nunez, before Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov defeated Finol’s fellow South American Fernando Martinez of Argentina by split decision.
Reigning World Welterweight (69kg) Champion Mohammed Rabii then went up against Ireland’s Steven Donnelly with a place in the Semi-Final and a guaranteed podium finish at stake. The Moroccan looked back to his best form, repeatedly finding his target and dodging Donnelly’s counters, and will now need to repeat the performance if he is to beat Shakhram Giyasov. The Uzbek made light work of his tie against Cuba’s London 2012 gold medalist Roniel Iglesias, and Monday’s last-four tie will be unmissable.
Russia’s towering Evgeny Tishchenko booked his place in the Heavyweight (91kg) final with a consummate display against Uzbekistan’s Rustam Tulaganov. The World Champion delivered some hammer blows, and despite the Uzbek’s greater mobility, he was unable to avoid defeat.
Reigning World Champion Tony Yoka got the day’s Super Heavyweight (+91kg) contests under way, and the Frenchman looked in commanding form against the US Virgin Islander Laurent Clayton. Yoka’s win will see him face Jordan’s Hussein Iashaish in the first of Tuesday’s Quarter-Finals after a close victory over Romania’s APB World Champion Mihai Nistor.
Cuba’s Leinier Pero and Italy’s Guido Vianello both enjoyed good spells of boxing on their Olympic debuts, but Pero’s overall superiority across the three rounds was reflected in a unanimous judges’ decision. The Cuban will face the big Croatian Filip Hrgovic in the last eight after he registered a comfortable win against Turkey’s Ali Demirezen.