Four weight classes and 23 nations were in action during the morning session on Day Three of the Rio 2016 Boxing Competition, including four hotly anticipated bouts at Light Flyweight (49kg), two at Welterweight (69kg) and Middleweight (75kg) and four at Heavyweight (91kg).
The day began with the confident figure of Cuban Johanys Argilagos delivering a brilliant Games debut that suggested he will take some stopping in his quest for Olympic Light Flyweight gold. Argilagos’ first opponent, Britain’s Galal Yafai, tried to take the match to the 19 year-old sensation, but even a brilliant last round from the Brit wasn’t enough as the split decision went to Cuba’s latest star.
Kenya’s Peter Warui put in two superb rounds to earn an unassailable lead against Lu Bin, picking a way through the Chinese boxer’s defence and absorbing his counter attacks effectively. A late rally from Bin wasn’t enough to turn the tide, and the hard-earned win means that Warui now faces Argilagos in Wednesday morning’s Quarter-Final.
Yurberjen Martinez halted Brazil’s Patrick Lourenço on the opening day of the Games, and after two rounds there was nothing to choose between the Colombian and Thailand’s Rogen Ladon. As the third drew to a climax, Martinez appeared to tire, but he dug deep to produce the stronger finish and march into the last eight.
It was a case of experience versus sheer determination in the final Light Flyweight bout of the session, with Ireland’s two-time Olympic bronze medallist Patrick Barnes facing Spain’s resilient Samuel Carmona Heredi. Neither boxer was prepared to cede the centre of the ring in a contest of pure attrition and dozens of blows exchanged per round, and after going in to the third with honours even, Heredi was able to find another gear and a path into the quarters.
In the session’s two Welterweight (69kg) bouts, Bulgaria’s Simeon Chamov used his considerable height advantage effectively against Onur Sipal of Turkey, before Venezuelan Gabriel Maestre delivered a brilliant performance against Germany’s Arajik Marutjan to join the Bulgarian in the second round.
A strong start from Hungary’s Zoltan Harcsa in the first of the Rio 2016 Middlweight (75kg) contests quickly became an unassailable lead against Turkmenistan’s Arslanbek Achilov, putting the European into a tough second-round tie with Cuban World Champion Arlen Lopez.
Four Heavyweight (91kg) bouts closed out the session, and signalled the return of Day One home-crowd hero Juan Nogueira, given the tall order of toppling Russian number-one seed Evgeny Tishchenko. Brazilian Nogueira looked to come in close and diffuse Tishchenko’s height advantage at every opportunity, landing some big uppercuts along the way, but Tishchenko stood firm to win the first two rounds, leaving Nogueira to put on a brave final flourish for his thousands of fans as he bowed out of the competition.
After going behind to Tunisian Hassen Chaktami, Italy’s two-time Olympic silver medallist Clemente Russo used all his experience to come back strongly and book his place in the Quarter-Finals. He was joined by the Uzbek Rustam Tulaganov, a comfortable winner over Ecuador’s Julio Cesar Castillo, and Azeri Abdulkadir Abdullayev, winner over France’s second boxer of the session, Paul Biongolo.