Following a spectacular finale to the afternoon’s preliminary bouts courtesy of American Joshua Temple’s big hitting, the crowds flocked to Doha’s Ali Bin Hamad Arena for the first evening of AIBA World Boxing Championship action.
Earlier in the day, Thailand’s Chatchai Butdee had turned up the heat with some lightning-fast footwork to overcome the experienced Ukrainian Mykola Butsenko, and he will now face Denmark’s Frederik Lundgaard in the next round.
“I am satisfied with my performance but I hope to do better in the upcoming match,” said Butdee. “The difference between us was the tactic I used today with a lot of attacking.”
In one of the surprises of the day, Boe Warawara of the Pacific islands of Vanuatu defeated Turkmenistan’s 22 year-old Yakub Meredov, delivering the country’s first ever victory in the history of the championships.
It proved to be a successful day in the ring for Azerbaijan, too, with 18 year-old Youth Olympic Games gold medalist Rufat Huseynov putting his quick footwork to good use in overcoming Morocco’s Imad Ahyoun. Earlier in the day, Lorenzo Sotomayor Collazo had given Azerbaijan their first win, against Canada’s tough Arthur Biyarslanov.
Among the favourites for the middleweight title, Ireland’s 2015 European Games champion Michael O’Reilly won his contest against Ukraine’s Valerii Kharlamov, while Uzbekistan’s ASBC Asian Champion Bektemir Melikuziev took less than two minutes to knock out Georgia’s Zaal Kvachatadze.
Wednesday will see 44 preliminary bouts take place across the two sessions, with the winners in the flyweight, lightweight, welterweight, light heavyweight and super heavyweight categories advancing to the last 16 in Doha.
Netherlands’ promising lightweight Enrico La Cruz is in top form but he will face veteran Italian Domenico Valentino in one of the most anticipated battles of day two. Ukraine’s AIBA Youth World Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak will tackle Algeria’s two-time Olympian Abdelhafid Benchabla in the pick opf the light heavyweight match-ups.