The AIBA African Olympic Qualifying Event has just ended in Casablanca but the boxing world's attention has already turned to Rio de Janeiro where the last regional event for men boxers has now started.
Canada's newly crowned light flyweight National Champion 20-year-old Emilien Boucher opened the tournament against Barbados' Ricardo Blackman who went down a weight class just before the event. Boucher had one point deficit after the first round but equalized it in the second frame and turned back the battle in the last three minutes. Boucher's next opponent will be Honduras' teenager Bayron Molina in the last 16.
Mexico's actually best boxer, AIBA World Championships bronze medallist and former AIBA Youth World Champion 21-year-old Oscar Rafael Valdez opened his competition in Rio de Janeiro where he is the too favourite of the bantamweight division. Valdez did not give too many chance to Venezuela's teenager Jose Diaz and advanced to the last 16 where he will now meet Colombia's tough Oscar Manuel Negrete.
Puerto Rico's Panamerican Youth Champion Felix Verdejo who had to miss the AIBA World Boxing Championships last year, moved up into the lightweight class and made his debut in Rio against Chile's South American Championships competitor Isaac Gutierrez. Verdejo dominated during the whole fight and won their unequal contest by 14:3. His next rival will be Guatemala's Central American and Caribbean Games silver medallist Juan Reyes.
Saint Lucia's Youth Olympian and 'AIBA Road to Baku Program' member 18-year-old Lyndel Marcellin had four points advantage against Guyana's Bert Braithwaite when the Argentinean referee stopped their light welterweight contest due Marcellin's serious punches. Saint Lucia's pride whose nickname is 'The Russian' because of his excellent technique advanced to the second preliminary round where he will be facing with Peru's Cesar Diaz.
USA's World Combat Games silver medallist Jamel Herring who has got an extra motivation to show his power to his three young children, stopped Bolivia's newcomer 17-year-old Juan Loayza when he had more than 15 points advantage. His next rival will be another teenager, Guatemala's great future hope Lester Martinez who walked over to the last 16.
Venezuela's biggest talent, Panamerican Games bronze medallist 18-year-old Yoelvis Hernandez used up his great technique against Panama's Central American Games winner Cesar Rivas and won each of the rounds in his debuting contest. The Venezuelan boxer can expect harder fight in the next round against Nicaragua's Julio Laguna who stopped Chile's Daniel Munoz before the final gong.
Brazil's first boxer who had to show his skills was two-time Olympian and Panamerican Champion Myke Carvalho Ribeiro at the welterweight division. The host nation's veteran fighter who was seeded at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, eliminated Dominican Republic's teenager Raul Sanchez by 17:9. In the next round Carvalho will now meet Cuba's favourite but newcomer in the national top team, Grand Prix Usti nad Labem winner Arisnoide Despaigne and their battle will be one of the most anticipated fight in the third competition day.
The first Cuban boxer who had to fight in Rio de Janeiro was Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Emilio Correa who has got gold medal expectations at the middleweight division. Correa was too strong for Colombia's Leonard Carrillo therefore the Cuban star can prepare to his next step against Dominican Republic's Junior Castillo.
Cayman Islands' 'AIBA Road to Baku Program' member Dariel Ebanks' boxing knowledge developed in the last month and that was enough to cause a huge surprise in the first competition day. His opponent Argentina's Juan Basualdo started better and Ebanks had three points deficit after three minutes fight but he did not give up the battle and advanced to the last 16 winning the light heavyweight bout by accepted scores.
Colombia's Beijing Olympian veteran Deivis Julio opened his route to the quota against Barbados' best fighter, Central American and Caribbean Games silver medallist Anderson Emmanuel. Both fighters showed great performance during the contest and finally the tallest Colombian boxer could win their bout. His next opponent will be Canada's multiple National Champion 32-year-old Samir El-Mais in the quarter-final.
AIBA World Championships quarter-finalist 23-year-old Michael Hunter is one of the most experienced competitor in the US national squad, he is member of the team since 2006 and tried to qualify unsuccessfully to the Beijing Games. Following that he has decided to continue his career among the amateurs and travelled to Rio de Janeiro to realize his chances and secure a quota. Hunter opened his competition against Saint Lucia's UK based Creole Games winner Ryan Charles and made his first winning step to the quota, eliminated his tough rival by 14:5.
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