Monday saw the fifth preliminary day of action at the World Olympic Qualification Event, with 56 contests held at light flyweight (49kg), bantamweight (56kg), welterweight (69kg), middleweight (75kg), and heavyweight (91kg) in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku. As well as the host nation enjoying an unbeaten run, the theme for the day was several young talents defeating top seeds to keep their Olympic hopes alive.
The Azerbaijan team’s first success came from 2014 Youth Olympic Games winner Rufat Huseynov as he defeated Chinese Taipei’s Po-Wei Tu in the light flyweight (49Kg), the tall 19 year-old proving too strong for his determined opponent. Huseynov will now face Morocco’s Zouhir El Bekkali after he beat Thailand’s 2012 Olympic Games silver medallist Kaeo Pongprayoon, while Mexico’s two-time Pan-American Games champion Joselito Velazquez also progressed to the last eight, eliminating French 18-year-old Billal Bennama.
Cuba’s defending Olympic Bantamweight (56Kg) Champion Robeisy Ramirez opened his campaign with a narrow win over Finnish 18-year-old Arslan Khataev, but looked back to his best against Kyrgyzstan’s Omurbek Malabekov. Then, Ireland’s 2015 European Games winner Michael O’Reilly showed his determination for further success in Baku by beating Belarusian middleweight (75kg) veteran Vitali Bandarenka.
The Azeri team’s newest member Kamran Shakhsuvarly (75Kg) then showed he has what it takes to go all the way by beating Albania’s Arjon Kajoshi, while Poland’s heavyweight (91kg) top-seed Igor Jakubowski secured a big win against Croatia’s Josip Bepo Filipi to set up a quarter-final showdown with Turkey’s Seyda Keser. In the batamweight category, Puerto Rico’s 20-year-old Carlos Caraballo looked impressive as he overcame Dominican Republic’s second seed and 2015 Pan-American Games silver medallist Hector Luis Garcia, and Trinidad & Tobago’s Aaron Prince will now face Britain’s Josh Kelly for an Olympic welterweight (69kg) quota place after eliminating Afghanistan’s Allah Dad Rahimi.