Team USA's Joseph Diaz Jr was eliminated from the Olympics by top-rated Cuban Lazaro Alvarez, and says he's going pro. (Photo by Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE)
The bantamweights have completed the first half of their round of 16, and Team USA's Joseph Diaz Jr lost the opening bout to top-rated Cuban Lazaro Alvarez this morning, though he gave a fantastic effort and did his country proud. Diaz says he's turning pro this fall. Here's the full four-fight rundown from this morning.
Our live coverage continues here, with the heavyweights and super heavyweights still to come this morning, including Americans Michael Hunter Jr and Dominic Breazeale.
Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) def. Joseph Diaz Jr (United States), 21-15: Diaz, 19, gave a terrific effort here, but Alvarez is No. 1 in the world for a damn good reason. Diaz fought better here than he did at the Worlds last year against Alvarez, but he just wasn't quite good enough yet to defeat the outstanding Cuban. Can't argue with the result, and Diaz showed grace in defeat. Diaz says he'll go pro this fall, according to Greg Beachem. Most likely he'll be signing with Golden Boy Promotions and part of their CBS showcases. Diaz reportedly told Alvarez after the fight that he hopes Alvarez wins the gold medal. The kid shows a lot of class.
Robenilson Vieira (Brazil) def. Sergey Vodopiyanov (Russia), 13-11: Bit of an upset here, and could have gone either way, but it sort of felt like Vodopiyanov kind of gave the fight away. It was very cagey through two rounds, and Vieira's two point-lead held true through the end of the fight. I have trouble seeing Vieira giving Alvarez any real problems in the next round.
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) def. Kanat Abutalipov (Kazakhstan), 15-10: Nevin looked about as good here, against a better opponent, as he did in round one against an overmatched foe. Abutalipov was down 5-2 after one, and 10-5 after two. He took some risks, but just couldn't get inside on the clever Nevin, who fought very smart.
Oscar Valdez (Mexico) def. Anvar Yunusov (Tajikistan), 13-7: A solid upset for the enjoyable 21-year-old Mexican, who neutered Yunusov's offense and took out a highly-rated, seeded fighter. Yunusov was slick but just didn't have it on the offensive side, and that's where Valdez shines. Two good wins for Valdez as he moves on to the quarterfinals to face Nevin.