On the final competition day of the AIBA Asian Olympic Qualifying Event, seven quota places found their rightful owners in Astana.
In the light flyweight final, Kazakhstan's 27-year-old Asian Games silver medallist Birzhan Zhakypov fought against Japan's President's Cup winner talented teenager Naoya Inoue, who almost secured an Olympic quota at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011. Southpaw Zhakypov controlled the fight from the first minute and led 5:2 after the first round. Inoue tried some dangerous body shots in the second frame of this spectacular bout but could not find a way past the Kazakh fighter's defences. Zhakypov's success resulted in a ninth Olympic quota for Kazakhstan. Inoue is surely one for the future.
Mongolia's AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Tugstsogt Nyambayar, not only achieved the Olympic quota, but put on world class performances during the competition. In the flyweight final, he faced the host nation's Asian Championships silver medallist Ilyas Suleimenov. The Mongolian has a great spirit and although he landed some quality punches in the first round, Suleimenov held a point advantage going into the second. The Kazakh boxer was buoyed by the cheering crowd and he went on to secure the second gold medal for the host nation after beating his opponent 18:14.
India's new wave made of boxers also made a huge impression in Astana. 18-year-old Youth Olympic Games silver medallist Shiva Thapa came up against Syria's first Olympic quota winner, Asian Games bronze medallist Wessam Salamana in the Bantamweight final. The experienced Syrian fighter did well in the first round and but still came out one point disadvantage after the first three minutes. Salamana fought back but Thapa is a classy operator and kept his distance with some quality shots as he claimed the first gold medal for his country. Thapa's victory meant Japan's Satoshi Shimizu also achieve a quota place for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the Lightweight final, Philippines two-time Southeast Asian Games winner and tough WSB fighter Charlie Suarez met China's Asian Championships silver medallist veteran Liu Qiang. After a very tactical first round, the Chinese southpaw led 3:1. This continued in the second. The Filipino boxer tried to turn the tide in the third and put on a valiant fight back but it was too little too late as the man from China took the gold and the only quota place.
Kazakh hero, Light Welterweight Asian Games winner Daniyar Yeleussinov secured the third gold for his nation after his opponent Turkmenistan's Asian Champion Serdar Hudayberdiyev was unable to fight following an injury sustained in his semi-final. 2,000 spectators sang the national anthem when Yeleussinov was presented with his medal on the podium.
China's Asian Champion and Beijing Olympian Maimaitituersun Qiong met with Mongolia's Asian Championships bronze medallist Byamba Tuvshinbat in the Welterweight final. The Xinjiang-based boxer started well and unfortunately the Mongolian injured himself within the first round and the ringside doctor stopped the fight. This second Chinese victory resulted in Iran's Amin Ghasemipour getting the opportunity of boxing at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Two-time AIBA World Champion and Asian Champion Abbos Atoev secured the only final victory for Uzbekistan in Astana. The Middleweight defeated Turkmenistan's 19-year-old Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Nursahat Pazziyev, who had unexpectedly eliminated India's Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist Vijender Singh in the semi-finals. Following an incredible first round which ended as a no score draw, Abbos Atoev found the punches to win the contest by a narrow 4:3.
The eighth final saw Tajikistan's Asian Games winner and Beijing Olympic Games quarter-finalist Jakhon Kurbanov and India's new sensation, 18-year-old Sumit Sangwan, fighting for the gold medal in the Light Heavyweight class. The Indian boxer led 7:6 after six minutes fight and went on to win the gold medal by beating his tough Tajik rival 14:9. The Indian victory resulted in a first ever Jordanian Olympic boxing quota, achieved by Arab Games winner Ihab Darweish Al-Matbouli.
Syria's 23-year-old Asian Games winner and Asian Champion Mohammad Ghossoun was the Heavyweight favourite in Astana. His opponent in the final for the last remaining quota place was Iran's 30-year-old former Asian Games winner Ali Mazaheri who competed at the Beijing Olympic Games. The Syrian man led 3:2 after three minutes while the tallest Mazaheri received a warning in the second frame but he managed to claw himself back to equal points after six minutes. The Syrian boxer also received a warning from the referee and surprisingly Mazaheri won their contest 14:11. Mohammad Ghossoun could not repeat his great previous performance in the heavyweight final and lost the bout as well as his Olympic chances.
China's Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist and current Asian Games winner Zhang Zhilei eliminated two Central Asian fighters in Astana and competed for the quota against Syria's Asian Championships silver medallist Sumar Ghossoun in the Super heavyweight division. The Chinese boxer dominated the first round and went on to increase that by four points after the second. Sumar proved he has great heart but it was Zhang who triumphed and was crowned in the king category.
The Asian qualification tournament came to end with the following quotas attributed to the continent following two the Qualifying Events of Baku and Astana: Kazakhstan secured 9, India achieved 7, Uzbekistan and China both acquired 6, Mongolia, Iran and Japan each 4, Tajikistan and Thailand both 3, South Korea and Turkmenistan 2, Philippines, Syria, Jordan and DPR Korea each took one quota for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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