Yurberjen Martinez of Colombia and Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan will meet in the men’s light flyweight gold medal match in Rio, after winning their semifinal bouts today.
Dusmatov pretty much dominated his fight with Nico Hernandez, the upset-minded American who got here by knocking off second-seeded Vasily Egorov of Russia in the round of 16, and then Ecuador’s Carlos Quipo in the quarterfinal.
But Dusmatov, who had already beaten Mexico’s Joselito Velazquez and Kazakhstani veteran Birzhan Zhakypov, was simply too advanced and skilled a fighter for the upstart from Wichita, Kansas. Hernandez does leave Rio with a bronze medal, which is the first time since 1988 that an American has medaled in this weight class, and just the fourth time overall.
Martinez scored a big upset over top seeded and gold medal favorite Joahnys Argilagos of Cuba, winning a split decision that he very much deserved. Martinez’s aggression gave Argilagos fits, and Argilagos, a counter puncher and stylist, showboated a bit more than he did fight effectively. But it wasn’t purely work rate and effort that won this for Martinez, as he also showed skills, as he has throughout the tournament. He won this by fighting a better fight.
Martinez is also the first boxer from Colombia to ever win silver or gold in the Olympics, and the first to medal from the country in 28 years. The last was Jorge Julio Rocha, who won bronze in 1988 in Seoul, and later went on to win the WBA and WBO bantamweight titles as a pro.
Martinez and Dusmatov will fight on Sunday, August 14, with the gold medal on the line.