- Pat McCormack (Great Britain) def. Aliaksandr Radzionau (Belarus), 5:0: Radzionau gave this what he had in the first, four judges went McCormack’s way anyway, and then McCormack got more clever and landed some very good shots, and Radzionau slowed down a bit, too much anyway. McCormack is the top seed and a two-time Olympian, and figures to turn pro after Tokyo, saying this will be his last Olympics. He’s 26 and is a strong contender at the Olympics, and has a style that should translate OK to the pros if he has the pop, which you don’t always see in the amateurs even from guys who have it, and even now that the scoring is more pro style than just poking for points.
- Bobo-Usmon Baturov (Uzbekistan) def. Rohan Polanco (Dominican Republic), 4:0:1: Some controversy here, probably. Baturov won all five cards in the first, Polanco all five in the second, and then Baturov got the nod in the decisive third round, but that could easily have gone to Polanco. Then again I thought the second could have gone to Baturov, but yeah, there’s definitely debate with this one.
- Aidan Walsh (Ireland) def. Albert Mengue Ayissi (Cameroon), 5:0: Walsh’s sister Michaela lost yesterday to Italy’s Irma Testa, but she could be seen up on the second level waving the flag for her brother, who advances cleanly enough here. Ayissi gave this everything he had, but everything he had annoyed the referee, too. He just couldn’t get a lot done clean, and his aggression wasn’t controlled enough. Walsh wasn’t spectacular, but deserved to advance.
- Merven Clair (Mauritius) def. Zeyad Eashash (Jordan), 3:2: This one definitely has some controversy. I thought Eashash won this, he definitely thought he won this, the Jordanian team up in the second level thought he won this. Clair got the first and third rounds narrow while Eashash swept the second. I thought Eashash won the first, won the second, and maybe even won the third, but there is no consistency to the judging here, sometimes it seems straight by the criteria, other times not so much. I think the judging is caught in an in-between from how amateur boxing used to be scored and seen to how it’s supposed to be now, but either way, Clair is on to the quarters.
- Muslim Gadzhimagomedov (Russian Olympic Committee) vs Abdelhafid Benchabla (Algeria), 5:0: In some respects an easy win for top seed Gadzhimagomedov, but Benchabla gave this everything he had. He also got dropped in the second but damn did the veteran try to find a way here. Benchabla probably bows out of the Olympics for good — I mean, probably, not a guarantee. He’s 34 now, he could be back at Paris 2024, I guess, but this was his fourth Olympics. He made the quarterfinals in 2008, 2012, and 2016, and falls a round short of that here. You figure if it hasn’t happened by now it’s just not going to, but maybe he’ll still want to compete. Gadzhimagomedov is going to be a handful for anyone, though. Skilled, strong, moves very well.
- Ammar Riad Abduljabbar (Germany) vs Jose Maria Lucar (Peru), 5:0: Solid performance from Abduljabbar, an Iraqi-born fighter who moved to Germany as a teenager. Lucar definitely was pesky, made it a little difficult for the first couple rounds, but a clear win for Abduljabbar, who now moves on to face Gadzhimagomedov, which is a big, big task.
- Uladzislau Smiahlikau (Belarus) def. Ato Plodzicki-Faoagali (Samoa), 4:1: Smiahlikau had to come from behind here, dropping the first round on every card to Plodzicki-Faoagali. He did deserve it, the Samoan was effective in the first but Smiahlikau effectively uglied it up some from there and got the fight at his range and tempo.
- David Nyika (New Zealand) def. Youness Baalla (Morocco), 5:0: Nyika didn’t do anything real special here, but didn’t have to, either. Baalla just didn’t have the tools to deal with a basic, effective attack from Nyika, who kept the fight easy for himself with the jab. Smiahlikau will be a much tougher test for Nyika, who has sincere medal hopes as the No. 4 seed.
- Rebecca Nicoli (Italy) def. Esmeralda Falcon (Mexico), 4:1: Nicoli had this in the bag once she won the first, which was competitive, and clearly took the second, but Falcon — Mexico’s first female Olympic boxer — did not give up on this and pushed hard in the third, which you have to respect and appreciate, she went for it and made Nicoli work the full nine minutes.
- Caroline Dubois (Great Britain) def. Donjeta Sadiku (Kosovo), 5:0: Dubois, the sister of pro Daniel Dubois, now moves on to face the United States’ Rashida Ellis, the sister of pros Rashidi and Ronald Ellis. So that’s fun! Dubois was better in every facet here. Sadiku tried hard to push it in the third especially, but a thorough win for the British fighter.
- Sudaporn Seesondee (Thailand) def. Maria Palacios (Ecuador), 5:0: Another fairly one-sided fight, Palacios had a solid start in the first round but still lost that one, as Seesondee settled in nicely and pretty well took over the contest from there.
- Busenaz Surmeneli (Turkey) def. Karolina Koszewska (Poland), 5:0: A completely dominant performance, truly one-sided. Surmeneli looked outstanding here, every bit someone you’d expect to be a top seed.
- Anna Lysenko (Ukraine) def. Oumayma Bel Ahbib (Morocco), 5:0: Another one-sided fight, Lysenko not quite as dominant as Surmeneli but was totally in control throughout. Bel Ahbib had a few moments in the third and definitely shouted a lot.
- Lovlina Borgohain (India) def. Nadine Apetz (Germany), 3:2: This one was quite close, but three of the five judges had clear thoughts, one scoring 3-0 for Apetz, two scoring 3-0 for Borgohain. Another had 2-1 Borgohain, another had 2-1 Apetz. Could have gone either way, really, but I thought overall they got it right, Borgohain was just a hair better for me.
- Nien-chin Chen (Chinese Taipei) def. Angela Carini (Italy), 3:2: Awful fight. Just ugly, sloppy, no good to watch at all. Chen has a lousy style but Carini couldn’t do much clean work either way. This did not mesh at all. This being the last fight of a four-hour session was pretty rough, in all honesty.