Day Five’s second session of the Rio 2016 Boxing Tournament got off to a flying start as Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov booked a place in the last four of the Light Flyweight (49kg) competition with a comprehensive win over Kazakhstan’s three-time Olympic quarter-finalist Birzhan Zhakypov.
Nico Hernandez then followed up Monday’s brilliant victory against Russian second-seed Vasilli Egorov with three brave rounds against Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo Pilataxi. With an Olympic medal at stake, the pair boxed with raw determination and skill, but the American’s stronger final round proved decisive as he joined Dusmatov in the semis.
The lively Belarusian Dzmitry Asanau faced Dominican Republic’s Hector Luis Garcia in the first bantamweight match of the afternoon, and a balanced contest tipped in Asanau’s favour thanks to a frenetic final round in which he narrowly outscored Garcia across the three minutes.
The Mongolian team continued their successful run in the lower weight categories as Tsendbaatar Erdenebat went on the offensive against Kenyan Benson Njangiru early on, dropping him to the canvas midway through the second round and putting the match beyond his opponent’s reach.
With the crowd now thoroughly warmed up, Riocentro burst into life for the arrival of Brazilian Robenilson de Jesus, who edged the first round against Algeria’s Fahem Hammachi with some intuitive counter-attacks. De Jesus stuck with his tactics in the second and third to win by split decision, the announcement raising the roof in Pavilion 6.
London 2012 Quarter-Finalist Fazliddin Gaibnazarov took no chances against Congo’s Dival Malonga Dzalam in a cagey opening round of the session’s first Light Welterweight bout, but the Uzbek landed enough big punches as the match wore on to secure a TKO win and set up a tie against India’s impressive-looking Manoj Kumar on Sunday.
Haiti’s sole boxer at Rio 2016, 18 year-old Richardson Hitchins, ensured he will be a name for the future after a stirring Olympic debut in which he came up against the equally determined Gary Russell, and it was Russell’s big lefts that finally proved too hot for Hitchins to handle, setting the American on his way to the last 16.
The Light Heavyweight (81kg) preliminaries continued with APB champion Mathieu Bauderlique sending out a clear message to the rest of the field thanks to a decisive win over Colombia’s Juan Carlos Carrillo, before Ecuador’s Carlos Mina continued to enjoy his Rio 2016 campaign with a breathless win over a Ireland’s Joe Ward.
Two Heavyweight (91kg) Quarter-Finals rounded off the day’s action, with Vassiliy Levit in uncompromising mood against Kennedy St Pierre of Mauritius. The big Kazakh looked dangerous from the outset as he controlled the bout to set up a mouthwatering Semi-Final encounter with Erislandy Savon. The Cuban number two seed saw off the challenge of Argentina’s Yamil Peralta to guarantee himself at least an Olympic bronze.