The AIBA World Olympic Qualification Event continued with two sessions of crucial quarter-finals in Baku on Thursday. The 28 winners at flyweight (52kg), bantamweight (56kg), lightweight (60kg), light welterweight (64kg), welterweight (69kg), middleweight (75kg) and light heavyweight (81kg) advanced to the semi-finals in Baku, and in doing so qualified for August’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Day Seven saw 23 different nations secure one or more boxer for the Olympic competition, among them Haiti, Iraq, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, while the United States’ star Antonio Vargas began his quest for Olympic Flyweight (52kg) gold with a comfortable win over Vincenzo Picardi. Equally impressive was Cuban Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez, as he overcame Kenyan veteran Benson Gicharu Njangiru.
Ukraine guaranteed their presence in the men’s Olympic boxing competition thanks to bantamweight Mykola Butsenko’s victory over Algeria’s Fahem Hammachi, and Haitian revelation Richardson Hitchins progressed in the light welterweight (64kg) category along with British medal hope Pat McCormack, who won a gripping contest with France’s Hassan Amzile.
Irish middleweight (75kg) Michael O’Reilly earned an Olympic spot with his win over home boxer Kamran Shakhsuvarly, China’s Jun Shan beat Yohannes Berhane of Sweden and at welterweight (69kg), Hungary’s Balazs Bacskai defeated his rival Abass Baraou of Germany with a powerful display before Britain’s Hosh Kelly, Souleymane Cissikho of France and Belarusian Pavel Kastramin all earned Rio quota places by reaching the Semi-Finals.
The first Olympic quota at light heavyweight (81kg) went to Russia’s EUBC European Champion Petr Khamukov while Germany’s first Olympic Boxing berth was delivered by Serge Michel, as he showed his class in a win over Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Dzemal Bosnjak.