The World Olympic Qualification Event continued on Friday with 20 Semi-Final bouts in Baku, including two crucial light flyweight (49kg) contests from which the latest Rio 2016 qualifiers would emerge. Wednesday’s gripping Quarter-Finals had already seen 23 nations achieve Olympic quota places, and Spain became the 24th thanks to light flyweight Samuel Carmona Heredia’s brilliant win over India’s Devendro Singh Laishram. The impressive Azeri Rufat Huseynov then earned the second quota spot and a place in the final with a gutsy victory over Mexico’s Joselito Velasquez.
Earlier in the day, Bulgaria’s defending EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov beat Turkey’s Selcuk Eker to set up a gold-medal match against the United States’ teenage star Antonio Vargas. At bantamweight (56kg), Ukrainian Mykola Butsenko delivered the performance of the day to beat Cuba’s defending Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez, and he will now meet Tsendbaatar Erdenebat of Mongolia for gold.
Great Britain’s 21-year-old medal hope Pat McCormack again looked comfortable as he progressed against India’s Commonwealth Games winner Manoj Kumar at light welterweight (64kg), but Haiti’s US-based teenage sensation Richardson Hitchins will offer a stiff test in Saturday’s final. Irish 2015 European Games winner Michael O’Reilly reached the middleweight (75kg) final with a win over veteran Iraqi boxer Waheed Abdulridha Waheed and will go for gold against Turkmenistan’s Arslanbek Achilov, while O’Reilly’s compatriot Dean Gardiner took a step closer to earning the sole super heavyweight (+91kg) Olympic quota place with victory over Moldova’s Alexei Zavatin. Gardiner meets Italy’s Guido Vianello on Saturday with both gold and a place at Rio 2016 on the line.
Netherlands’ Enrico La Cruz defeated Chinese Taipei’s first male qualified Chu-En Lai to set up a lightweight (60kg) final showdown with Tajikistan’s Anvar Yunusov, before France’s Souleymane Cissokho showed why he is one of the best European welterweights (69kg) around by beating Britain’s Joshua Kelly, progressing to the gold-medal match against longstanding Hungarian rival Balazs Bacskai.
Germany’s Serge Michel defeated Belarus’ Mikhail Dauhaliavets in an entertaining encounter and will now face Azerbaijan’s London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallist Teymur Mammadov for light heavyweight (81kg) gold.
Following the Ecuadorian’s stirring win over Netherlands’ Roy Korving, Cesar Castillo will box Polish number-one Igor Jakubowski in the heavyweight (91kg) final for the last remaining quota place on offer in Baku.