Day 13 of boxing in Rio is over, and we have another gold medalist, and three more gold medal fights set.
Women’s flyweight (51kg) - Semifinals
Nicola Adams (Great Britain) def. Cancan Ren (China)
Ren leaves with bronze after this loss, just as she left with silver in London after losing to Adams in the final. Ren started very well here, winning the first round across the board, but Adams adjusted nicely and won the next three rounds, securing her chance to win her second gold medal.
Sarah Ourahmoune (France) def. Ingrit Valencia (Colombia)
Ourahmoune was just the better fighter here, even though one judge had it even, resulting in a majority decision. To me, it was a clear 3-1 win for Ourahmoune, who now moves on to face Adams in the final. Valencia did have a great run to bronze, though, and a fine showing overall in Rio.
Men’s bantamweight (56kg) - Semifinals
Shakur Stevenson (United States) def. Vladimir Nikitin (Russia)
This was a walkover, Nikitin was ruled out due to cuts suffered in his previous two "wins."
Robeisy Ramírez (Cuba) def. Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Uzbekistan)
I sang Ramírez’s praises when he won gold as a flyweight in London. I sang his praises going into the Rio Olympics. And I’m going to do it again: for my money, there was not a fighter with a better showing in London. I thought that, at 18, he deserved the Val Barker Trophy. And now that he’s a 22-year-old bantamweight, he may deserve it in Rio. This was no easy fight. Akhmadaliev is a terrific boxer and gave a wonderful effort here, resulting in one of the best two-way displays of boxing we’ve seen thus far.
Men’s middleweight (75kg) - Semifinals
Arlen López (Cuba) def. Kamran Shakhsuvarly (Azerbaijan)
Shakhsuvarly was, to put it mildly, not one of my favorite fighters to watch in Rio. But he had a good run to a bronze medal. Here, he was just out of his depth against López, who outboxed him in the first two rounds, and then beat him up a bit early in the third. López has looked like the easy best fighter in the middleweight division, which has probably been the weakest on the men’s side. That’s not to say he’s not very good, because he is, but it is what it is. Some division has to be the worst, and I think this was it.
Bektemir Melikuziev (Uzbekistan) def. Misael Rodríguez (México)
A tough, scrappy effort from Rodríguez, but Melikuziev was just better. His matchup with López for gold is going to be very interesting. López is a good boxer, but more a puncher than the stereotypical Cuban standout, while Melikuziev puts on good pressure, is tough, and fights really hard. Could be really exciting.
Men’s light heavyweight (81kg) - FINAL
Julio César La Cruz (Cuba) def. Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan)
Here’s the work of Julio César La Cruz in a nutshell:
We’ll have more on this fight on the front page, but this was another brilliant defensive/offensive performance from La Cruz. The guy is so smooth, has the gifts to get away with technical "mistakes," and made the No. 2 seed here look like a class below. He cruised through every fight.