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Hassan N’Dam edges out a win in Olympic qualifer

Hassan N'Dam just barely scrapes an Olympic qualifying win by beating 21-year-old U.S. amateur Jonathan Esquivel 29-28.

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Wil Esco is an assistant editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2014.

Well - that might've been a little embarrassing. Former (interim) middleweight titlist Hassan N’Dam just barely scraped by in an Olympic qualifying light heavyweight quarterfinal contest, beating 21-year-old U.S. amateur Jonathan Esquivel by a score of 29-28 as reported by RingTV.com. The qualifying tournament was held in Vargas, Venezuela.

N'Dam, the 13th best middleweight in the world according to BoxRec, and despite his vastly superior level of experience, went nip and tuck with Esquivel, losing the third round on two of the judges scorecard before ultimately securing a unanimous decision win. The close win for N'Dam marked his first tournament appearance as it also eliminated Esquivel from Olympic contention.

N'Dam is currently one of the few professional to try his hand at an Olympic berth after AIBA's recent vote allowed professionals to compete alongside amateurs. And although both the WBC and IBF have said that they will ban professional fighters from their rankings if they compete at the Olympics, it's unclear how this will apply to those who compete in the qualifying tournaments. But despite the risk, both N'Dam and former flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng are among those who have attempted to qualify for the Rio games.

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