Cuba is the only country to send all three of their boxers to the finals of the first Youth Olympic Games, while Azerbaijan and Lithuania will be represented by two athletes each.
The second light flyweight semifinal was a real mind game. It was 1 to 1 until the midpoint of the third round, the Irishman and the Uzbek stalking each other like two predators, until Burnett found a gap in Hoorboyev's defences. That was enough to win the bout and set up a match with Salman Alizada of Azerbaijan, a repeat of the Baku Youth Worlds' final.
"It was a tough, tough bout. I thought I got him many times but the judges thought otherwise. In the final round I wanted to score a point and then dance out the rest of the match - that is exactly what happened. I am looking forward to meeting Alizada once again, because I believe I won the match in Baku, but it did not show on the scorecards," the boxer from Belfast noted.
Emmanuel Rodriguez repeated his virtuoso performance of the quarterfinals, beating Hesham Abdelaal of Egypt by 10 to 1. "I had a much easier time than yesterday, against the Russian guy (Vasily Vetkin). My game plan just worked out to perfection. I am extremely confident before the final bout, my coach (Arturo Ríos Rivera) says I will get the gold medal against Dj Maaki of Nauru," the Puerto Rican pugilist from Vega Baja said.
Robeisy Ramirez is the reigning Youth World Champion, so he was expected to beat Dawid Michalus of Poland - but it turned out to be a tough nine minutes. The Cuban from the town of Cienfuegos tried to put pressure on the Pole, and jumped out to an early lead that he was unable to increase. At last Ramirez prevailed, and set up the repeat final of the Baku Youth World Championships - in which he had beaten Shiva Thapa of India 14 to 1. "I am in very good shape, the two month long preparation with my coach Humberto Horta was fantastic. I don't feel tired, we Cubans are indefatigable. I dedicate my win to my family and to the people of Cuba," Ramirez said.
Elvin Isayev became the second Azeri boxer to advance to Wednesday's finals, which speaks volumes about the boxing strength of the Caucasian republic. Coach Shamil Alimzanov's pupil clearly dominated the bout against the pesky Fradimil Macayo of Venezuela, sometimes dancing away, sometimes fighting back from a secure defence. "I am a little bit tired but will have plenty of time to recover for the final match," Isayev said. He will meet reigning Youth World Champion Arthur Bril of Germany.
Another repeat final of the Baku summit, and another outstanding encounter. Contrasting styles met when stocky Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania took on lean, long Vikas Krishnan of India, the defending World Champion. The win was up for grabs until the final two minutes, with the score tied at 3, when Petrauskas found his opponent with a vicious hook, practically deciding the outcome of the bout. "I was eager to take a revenge on Vikas after he had beaten me in the Baku finals. I trained very hard, and now it paid off. The key to the victory was good defence. Of course, I want to win the final match against the Australian boxer," the Lithuanian said.
"This is a great day for Venezuelan boxing, we have not had any major successes for a while, making the finals is a huge achievement for me," is what Samuel Zapata said after winning his semi-final bout against his Argentinian opponent by 4 to 2. The Caribbean pugulist jumped out to a 4-0 lead, then preveiled in the final minute, when Maidana cut the difference with a determined flurry of jabs and hooks. The Venezuelan boxer from the capital city of Caracas could not hide his excitement. "I pray to God to have the strength to win the finals," he said.
That's exactly what Claudio Da Silva, David Lourenço's coach did before the Brazilian Youth World Champion's semi-final bout against Oslomzhon Dalibaev of yirgyzstan. And the prayer was undoubtedly necessary to eke out a close victory 2-1. "This was the toughest, best match I had seen in my life," the coach said. "I am very, very exhausted, but it was worth the hard work. Being in the Olympic finals is a dream come true. To win the gold medal would be an even bigger source of happiness," the boxer from Sao Paulo declared.
Damien Hooper is a bigger, tougher and more experienced boxer than his Hungarian opponent Zoltán Harcsa, and the difference showed in their semi-final bout. The Australian from the Western Queensland town of Dalby clearly dominated the match, slowly but surely building a substantial lead, and made it to the finals. "I had a tougher match against Joe Ward of Ireland in the quarter-finals. I have been progressing at this Youth Olympics from bout to bout, and I am hoping to max out on Wednesday. I have come a long way from that little town in Queensland. Soon I will travel to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, I have made the Australian elite team, but first I want to win the first Youth Olympic Games here in Singapore," Hooper said confidently.
The reigning World Champion is always expected to win, and Irosvani Duverger wanted to live up to the high expectations in his bout with Sardorbek Begaliev of Uzbekistan. Although the final score was close (3-1 for the Cuban), the pupil of coach Humberto Horta clearly had the upper hand. "I had already boxed him, and beat him, so I was confident. It was not too easy, but not too difficult either. Winning three gold medals for Cuba would be a huge, huge accomplishment," the tough light heavyweight said.
Another Cuban World Champion and another Cuban win in the semi-finals. Lenier Pero gave no chance to his Turkish opponent, and conveniently marched into the finals making it a perfect tally for his country so far. "For us it is an unbelievable feat to represent Cuba with three boxers in the finals, the strong preparation has paid off," national head coach Humberto Horta declared. "The Turk was very, very hard to beat, but my strategy - to put him under constant pressure - worked out. I am in the finals, but this is not the end of the road yet," Pero added.
Tony Yoka of France coasted to a comfortable victory against his Moldavian opponent, setting up a clash of titans in Wednesday's super heavyweight finals against fellow 1.97 metre Joseph Parker of New Zealand. The Frenchman used his much longer reach to outjab his brave counterpart and cruised to a 5-0 victory.
Youth Olympic Games, Singapore
Sunday, 22 August, 2010 14.00 - Evening
Light Fly 48 kg Ryan Burnett (IRL)-Zohidjon Hoorboyev (UZB) 2-1
Fly 51 kg Hesham Abdelaal (EGY)-Emmanuel Rodriguez (PUR) 1-10
Bantam 54 kg Dawid Michelus (POL)-Robeisy Ramirez (CUB) 1-3
Feather 57 kg Elvin Isayev (AZE)-Fradimil Macayo (VEN) 10-6
Light 60 kg Evaldas Petrauskas (LIT)-Vikas Krishnan (IND) 4-3
Light Welter 64 kg Fabian Maidana (ARG)-Samuel Zapata (VEN) 2-4
Welter 69 kg David Lourenço (BRA)-Oslomzhon Dalibaev (KGZ) 2-1
Middle 75 kg Damien Hooper (AUS)-Zoltán Harcsa (HUN) 4-0
Light Heavy 81 kg Irosvani Duverger (CUB)-Sardorbek Begaliev (UZB) 3-1
Heavy 91 kg Umit Can Patir (TUR)-Lenier Pero (CUB) 0-6
Super Heavy +91 kg Daniil Svaresciuc (MDA)-Tony Yoka (FRA) 0-5
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