This morning from Rio, the men's flyweight division got going, as did the men's super heavyweights, while a pair of welterweights moved on to the medal rounds, and one heavyweight took his spot in the gold medal match.
Men’s flyweight (52kg) - Round of 32
Olzhas Sattibayev (Kazakhstan) def. Jeyvier Cintrón (Puerto Rico)
This was a split decision, but it was the right winner. Cintrón fought in London four years ago, too. Sattibayev seemed the physically stronger of the two, and I thought deserved at least two of the rounds, and definitely deserved the pivotal third round. Sattibayev will face top-seeded Elvin Mamishzada of Azerbaijan in the round of 16.
Shakhobidin Zoirov (Uzbekistan) def. Brendan Irvine (Ireland)
Zoirov really put it on Irvine in the first two rounds, but the Irishman did give it everything he had in the third and final round, though all three judges saw that one for Zoirov, too.
Antonio Vargas (United States) def. Julião Neto (Brazil)
Big age disparity in this one. Neto is 34, Vargas is 19, he turns 20 on Monday. Look, Vargas was clearly the better, fresher, quicker fighter. There was really no question about it. He obviously won the first round, which two of three judges gave to Neto. The judge from Chinese Taipei gave Neto the first and third rounds, which were the rounds he most clearly did not win. But in the end, Vargas got a majority decision win, which would have been a split but Neto was docked a point in the third. After the first, this reeked of robbery, but thankfully the judges rallied to not completely screw up.
Yoel Finol (Venezuela) def. Luis de los Santos (Dominican Republic)
This was a pretty good fight, and the winner was correct. Also this happened:
And that was fun!
Daniel Asenov (Bulgaria) def. Fernando Martínez (Argentina)
A split decision win for the Bulgarian, who was the crowd favorite, not because there were a ton of Bulgarians in attendance, but because Martínez is from Argentina. Asenov will face Mohamed Flissi of Algeria in the round of 16.
Men’s welterweight (69kg) - Quarterfinals
Mohammed Rabii (Morocco) def. Steven Donnelly (Ireland)
Donnelly came into this fight with a blackened left eye. Not what you want facing the top seed. Somehow, this came back a split decision, with Donnelly winning two rounds on one card, which is preposterous, frankly. He gave a great effort but Rabii was the clearly better boxer here. Rabii won every round on the other two cards, more fittingly.
Shakhram Giyasov (Uzbekistan) def. Roniel Iglesias (Cuba)
This was a very good fight, great skills on display, both showing real aggression and intent to do damage. It was Giyasov for me, but there were some folks who thought Iglesias was shafted here. I liked Giyasov in the first and third rounds, and Iglesias in the second, but the judges had Giyasov up 2-0 going into the final round, so really all he had to do was not get knocked out or disqualified. Iglesias falls short of a medal, after winning bronze in 2008 and gold in 2012 as a light welterweight. Giyasov will face Rabii in the semifinal, which should be another terrific fight.
Men’s heavyweight (91kg) - Semifinal
Evgeny Tishchenko (Russia) def. Rustam Tulaganov (Uzbekistan)
This one was debatable. For one thing, I thought Tulaganov clearly won the first round, and none of the three judges saw it that way. That put Tishchenko in the driver’s seat. You could have argued for Tulaganov in the next two rounds, too. But Tishchenko moves on to fight for a gold medal, and Tulaganov goes home with a bronze.
Men’s super heavyweight (91+kg) - Round of 16
Tony Yoka (France) def. Clayton Laurent Jr (Virgin Islands)
Yoka, the top seed, outclassed Laurent pretty handily here, winning a full shutout decision. That’s no surprise, and it certainly wasn’t because Laurent didn’t give the effort. It was just a different level that Yoka was on in this matchup.
Hussein Iashaish (Jordan) def. Mihai Nistor (Romania)
Well, this was a flat-out robbery. Nistor beat the crap out of Iashaish and forced two standing eight counts, but the eight counts are basically for safety and don’t actually mean much of anything to judges, which is something that needs to be addressed and adjusted by AIBA going forward, because damage done clearly means very little to most of these judges, and, well, it obviously should. There is no argument here. Nistor was robbed blind.
Lenier Pero (Cuba) def. Guido Vianello (Italy)
In 2012, Erislandy Savón, who is fighting at heavyweight this year, fought super heavyweight for Cuba, and Roberto Cammarelle of Italy competed in his final Olympics, winning silver, after bronze in Athens and gold in Beijing. So this is a new era for Italian boxing, in a way, and, well, not a great start. Vianello is no Cammarelle, and at any rate, Pero was the clearly better fighter here, and won handily.
Filip Hrgović (Croatia) def. Ali Eren Demirezen (Turkey)
Fairly easy work for the Croatian, a powerful and skilled fighter. Demirezen just wasn’t on the same level, and it showed in every round, but it was a spirited fight. Hrgović vs Pero is going to be a good one.