Men’s light heavyweights
- Benjamin Whittaker (Great Britain) def. Jorge Luis Vivas, 4:1: Interesting style clash, Whittaker taller and wanted to keep his range, Vivas short, powerfully built, came to make it rugged. I thought Vivas did pretty well in the first round, but Whittaker did what he needed to do in the latter two and deserves to be moving on. Also showed great sportsmanship after, acknowledging that it was definitely a fight out there, not easy for him at all but he did the work.
- Daxiang Chen (China) def. Shabbos Negmatulloev (Tajikistan), 4:0:1: A very close fight, even if the 4:0:1 judges’ tally leads you to believe otherwise. Negmatulloev was docked a point for leading with the head in the second, he was a rougher guy than Chen, but Chen takes the scores and moves on to the round of 16.
- Imam Khataev (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Mohamed Assaghir (Morocco), RSC: I’m entering these as the results flow in and said below that Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia had the most dominant performance we’ve seen thus far. That didn’t last long, because Khataev bowled over Assaghir, who bless him was in there trying everything but just got bulled by Khataev, who forced two standing eight counts in the first, another in the second, dropped Assaghir early in the third, and then forced another standing eight, where the referee stopped it. Assaghir obviously wanted to finish the fight but it was way beyond him and you run the risk of someone getting hurt. I mean, listen, probably not, we’ve all seen a lot of boxing and mostly it goes OK enough, but you never know when it won’t, and it’s always a sincere danger. So while I feel for Assaghir because he was trying his best at the Olympics, the stoppage was the right call.
- Bakhodur Usmonov (Tajikistan) def. Leonel de los Santos (Dominican Republic), 4:1: Usmonov the better fighter. This one wasn’t that interesting, honestly, and I’m starting to run out of ways to put this stuff, because this is what a lot of the early fights amount to. de los Santos was OK, Usmonov was better. Usmonov moves on.
- Javid Chalabiyev (Azerbaijan) def. Yaroslav Khartsyz (Ukraine), 5:0: This was a damn good fight, Chalabiyev definitely won and earned it, but both of these guys showed some good talent. Khartsyz was just the second-best guy in the fight. This is the second Olympics for Chalabiyev, as he fought at Rio 2016 as a bantamweight, losing in the first round. He’s through to the second round this time.
- Hovhannes Bachkov (Armenia) def. Alston Ryan (Antigua and Barbuda), 5:0: Probably the most dominant performance we’d seen at this point. Bachkov fought at Rio 2016 and turned pro last year with MTK Global, too. Ryan didn’t look like some helpless incompetent or anything, Bachkov was just relentless and doing enough damage to force standing eight counts in the first and second rounds.
- Gabil Mamedov (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Damian Durkasz (Poland), 5:0: Durkasz brought some good pressure, might have a pro future with a pro style. But Mamedov was really sharp, picked him off a lot, worked the body, won every round. He looked very good, like someone who could be dangerous moving forward. Fun fight, too.
- Louis Richarno Colin (Mauritius) def. Abdelhaq Nadir (Morocco), 4:1: This is the third Olympics for the 34-year-old Colin, who fought at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and this was a very close fight, definitely could have gone either way. Nadir had beaten Colin in the qualifying run to the Olympics. I thought Colin won the first, Nadir the second, and then had no real opinion on who won the third, legit could have gone either way, but if I had to pick I’d have shaded to Colin, so I think the judges got it right in the end. Good fight.
- Keyshawn Davis (United States) def. Enrico Lacruz (Netherlands), 5:0: A really good showing from Davis, the best we’ve seen from an American thus far and by a good margin. Davis, who is 3-0 as a pro after debuting last year, was added to the team late and still is the clear best medal hope on the men’s side. Lacruz is a two-time Olympian, a fine fighter, and Davis just out-classed him for the most part here.
- Giordana Sorrentino (Italy) def. Irismar Cardozo (Venezuela), 5:0: Much more competitive than “5:0” makes it look, Sorrentino just won at least two rounds on enough cards. (Didn’t see the exact scores because the excellent NBC stream cut to another commercial about ulcerative colitis or cars or Jeff Goldblum when they went up on the screen.) Very competitive fight, two younger fighters (Sorrentino 21, Cardozo 23) with a lot of spirit.
- Nina Radovanovic (Serbia) def. Mandy Bujold (Canada), 5:0: Radovanovic looks like a decent potential medal contender, really fought well here against the experienced Bujold, who was in her second Olympics. Radovanovic has a nice style.
- Jutamas Jitpong (Thailand) def. Roumaysa Boualam (Algeria), 5:0: Jitpong kept a cool head against the pressure of Boualam, and she was able to keep her range where she wanted, picked her off enough. Boualam did have some success and gave this her best effort, but Jitpong was sharper and better.
- Irish Magno (Philippines) def. Christine Ongare (Kenya), 5:0: Feel bad for Ongare, who was fiddling with ill-fitting head gear, but Magno was also just the better fighter here, too, and won every round. She was disciplined and just fought very effectively in every round, a strong opening performance for her.
- Tursunoy Rakhimova (Uzbekistan) def. Sandra Drabik (Poland), 4:1: Rakhimova, 24, advances on while the 32-year-old Drabik heads home. Drabik has been a solid standout in European competitions for years, winning some silver and bronze medals at various tournaments. I thought the right winner came through here, Rakhimova sealing it with a strong third round after they basically split the first two, with four of the five judges giving Drabik the first (which I would have scored for Rakhimova), then four of the five giving Rakhimova the second (which I would have scored for Drabik). They were competitive rounds, but the third was definitely Rakhimova’s, and she advances.