The welterweight semifinals are set, and all over today's winners are guaranteed at least a bronze medal in London at the 2012 Olympic games. Team USA is out for good now (actually, no North American fighters are left). Here's the rundown of today's four bouts.
Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine) def. Alexis Vastine (France), 18-18 on countback: Vastine is an emotional fellow. I think he deserved the win, but it wasn't something you could reverse on protest. They'll protest and lose. It was a close fight. Vastine set up a lay-down act on the canvas, snow angel style, then sat up, then briefly acted like he refused to leave, then punched the turnbuckle pad, then immediately left. Whole thing took about a minute and a half or so. They'll probably protest, but this wasn't really a robbery. It was very close. He'll have no serious case for reversal. He's a good fighter, though, and it was tough to watch him lose so narrowly. Probably his last Olympics.
Freddie Evans (Great Britain) def. Custio Clayton (Canada), 14-14 on countback: Evans is a bit fortunate to get through, not because he clearly lost and got a gift or anything, but because this was really about even after Evans dominated 7-2 in the first round. It was a very good fight. Clayton proved for sure that he can box with this one. Good stuff.
Andrey Zamkovoy (Russia) def. Errol Spence (United States), 16-11: Team USA are done. You'll probably hear a lot of people say it was a robbery or the like. It wasn't. We tend to have trouble admitting losses. I've even heard that Jamel Herring was robbed. Oh well. Spence gave an effort but never looked totally comfortable in there. Zamkovoy was more polished, which has been a problem in Beijing and London for the American team, and that comes down to coaching and the system itself more than our athletes, but then I already said this stuff.
Serik Sapiyev (Kazakhstan) def. Gabriel Maestre (Venezuela), 20-9: Biggest mismatch of the day by far.