On the second day of the quarter-finals at the AIBA American Olympic Qualifying Event Rio de Janeiro 2012, the competition saw Dominican Republic's top boxer, Panamerican Games silver medallist Dagoberto Aguero suffer a shock defeat at the hands of Ecuador's 27-year-old Beijing Olympian Jose Luis Meza. There were a further quota places for the London 2012 Olympic Games ensured by the boxers in the Light, Welter and Middleweight divisions.
Aguero, who despite only being 18, had the international experience and the skills to get past his experienced opponent but after leading 3:2 coming into the second round of his Flyweight quarter-final, his Ecuadorian opponent turned the fight on its head to surprise the Dominican favourite and win 14:9. Brazil's veteran Panamerican Games bronze medallist Juliao Neto, the host nation's top Flyweight since 2008, fought against Venezuela's National Champion Jefferson Jose Perez and used his physical advantage to control their contest from the first bell to move into the semi-finals with a 17:9 victory and set up a meeting with Meza.
Former Panamerican Champion Braulio Avila replaced Elias Emigdio in the Mexican squad for Rio and met Guatemala's 30-year-old Beijing Olympian Eddie Valenzuela in the Flyweight quarter-finals. The Guatemalan's excellent footwork ensured he won the bout 15:10 to shatter Avila's Olympic dreams. Puerto Rico's 17-year-old Independence Cup bronze medallist Jeyver Cintron showed excellent technique against Canada's Panamerican Championships silver medallist and multiple-National Champion Kenny Lally and following a tactical first round, Cintron then dominated the contest to move into the semis to face Valenzuela. The two Flyweight finalists will achieve quota places for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Argentina's Welterweight No.1, Panamerican Championships bronze medallist Brian Castano returned to the national squad this year and travelled to Rio de Janeiro as one of the favourites. Castano faced Mexico's former AIBA Youth World Champion Oscar Molina with the latter completely dominant throughout as he triumphed 25:14 to secure his participation at the Olympic Games. 20-year-old Puerto Rican Panamerican Youth Champion Pritchard Colon moved up to Welterweight but could not get past Venezuela's Gabriel Maestre in Rio after succumbing to a 13:8 defeat. Maestre's victory resulted in the first Venezuelan Olympic quota for London 2012.
Ecuador's Independence Cup winner Carlos Sanchez defeated Peru's Luis Angel Miranda at the Batalla de San Juan Cup in Lima and in their re-match in Rio triumphed once more over his Peruvian rival with a polished 15:11 win. Sanchez joined compatriot Carlos Gongora in achieving the London 2012 Olympic Games quota place. Brazil's two-time Olympian 28-year-old Myke Carvalho, who was seeded as No.2 at the last AIBA World Boxing Championships in Baku, joined his four teammates in qualifying for London. The Brazilian Welterweight defeated Canada's three-time National Champion Custio Clayton in a narrow contest and can now prepare for his third Olympics.
All Lightweight semi-finalists would be ensured of qualification to the London 2012 Olympic Games so it was no surprise to see sheer delight on Dominican Wellington Arias' face after he was declared the winner as he edged his contest with Ecuador's 2008 Olympian Luis Porozo 9:3. 21-year-old Arias was quickly joined in celebration by the USA's Jose Ramirez who was classy on his way to a 23:11 victory over 25-year-old Alejandro Rynn from Canada. Ramirez will now meet Arias with a place in the final at stake.
It was a masterclass by the rampant 21-year-old Colombian Eduar Marriaga as he emphatically defeated Guyana's Stefan Gouveia to progress to the Lightweight semis with a 25:9 victory, he will now face the fleet-footed 18-year-old Puerto Rican Felix Verdejo who was dominant against Angel Gutierrez from Mexico to win 17:8.
Middleweight Marlo Delgado from Ecuador made the difference in the third round of his contest with Mexican Marcos Mendez to progress into the last four, the 14:11 win setting up a meeting with the impressive American Terrell Gausha who made it look easy against Enrique Collazo of Puerto Rico. The 24-year-old orthodox fighter from the USA won each round at a canter as he stormed into the semi-finals with a 16:5 victory that will see him also compete at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
It was two hands raised to the sky for Jose Espinoza from Venezuela after a craftsmen like performance against Trinidad's Andrew Firmin saw him move deeper into the competition with a 16:11 triumph. Dominican Junior Castillo probably enjoyed the best birthday ever as he celebrated turning 26 with a quota place for the Olympic Games and completing the Middleweight semi-final line-up after coming out on top in his spectacular bout with Canada's Brody Blair, the final score displaying 20:15 to Castillo in the blue corner.
There is always excitement when the Super Heavyweights make their way into the ring. First up was Simon Kean from Canada who avenged his compatriot's defeat in the previous bout with a thunderous win of his own, stopping Dominica's Christopher Joseph in the first round to move into the semi-finals. 19-year-old Ecuadorian Ytalo Perea did enough in the first two rounds of his fight against Leonardo Taborda from Argentina to move into the last four as he prevailed 12:9, he will now meet Kean for a shot at the gold medal.
28-year-old Benjey Zimmerman, the charismatic orthodox fighter from the Netherlands Antilles, was unable to use his height and speed to his advantage and was defeated by the precise punching of Puerto Rico's Gerardo Bisbal who won 13:8. The last bout of the day saw Brazil's Gidelson Silva and American Dominic Breazeale put on an explosive show. With the crowd firmly behind him, Silva went on the offensive against his taller opponent, dictating the tempo from the centre of the ring in the first round. The rangy Breazeale though stemmed the tide to assert his authority in the latter stages, landing several telling combinations as he moved into the semi-finals with a 18:12 victory to fight Silva. The top three Super Heavyweights will book their places for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Tomorrow is rest day for the boxers before they return on Friday for the semi-finals. The AMBC General Assembly that will be held at the Maracanazinho on Thursday will be introduced with the AIBA Professional Boxing (APB) program that is due to launch in Fall 2013.
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