- Hebert Sousa (Brazil) def. Erbieke Tuoheta (China), 3:2: Sousa took the first pretty cleanly, but Erbieke battled back to give himself a chance by winning three cards in the second. Sousa had two cards locked, basically, going into the third, and won one of the others, enough to put him through. Good action in the third, and the three-seed got a good test from the Chinese fighter, and it was a solid fight. Sousa has some technical flaws that may doom him moving forward, but he can scrap.
- Abilkhan Amankul (Kazakhstan) def. Fanat Kakhramonov (Uzbekistan), 5:0: Kakhramonov swept the first round, making it a little dirty and keeping Amankul out of the range he wanted. That was probably the right idea since once Amankul found the range and held it, this wasn’t even close. Amankul dominated the second two rounds.
- Darrelle Valsaint Jr (Haiti) def. David Tshama (Democratic Republic of the Congo), : Valsaint is from the States but qualified for the Haitian team, we’ve seen things like that before, such as Teofimo Lopez fighting for Honduras in Rio. Valsaint used a nice jab at points here, was able to consistently out-point Tshama, who tried to rush Valsaint in the latter two rounds and had minor success, though not quite enough. The fight was functionally over after two rounds, as Valsaint was up 2-0 on four cards.
- Gleb Bakshi (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Troy Isley (United States), 3:2: A good fight, two skilled operators, and Isley made this one close. He was down on two cards with three even after the first, so he won two of the even cards in the third, but just comes up short. I do think it’s the right call, and that the scoring reflects how the fight went. You could see how good Bakshi, the No. 2 seed, really is, and also that Isley is a very talented fighter himself. He did his team proud here, bowing out against a top opponent with a strong effort. The fight was also arguably over-officiated by the referee, but that happens, and it’s been fairly rare.
Men’s super heavyweight
- Richard Torrez Jr (United States) def. Chouaib Bouloudinats (Algeria), 5:0: Torrez pretty well dominated here. He dropped Bouloudinats, who was also an Olympian in 2012, in the first round, and kept control from there, too. He’s a southpaw, and since most will wonder this immediately, pro prospects are — being honest — a little dicey. Not because he can’t fight, he can, but he looks too thick to fight at cruiserweight, and at 6’2” things would/will eventually get tough if we keep having a few really talented giants at a time. But yeah, Torrez can fight, he’s the No. 3 seed for a reason. To note, the U.S. hasn’t had a medalist in this division since Riddick Bowe won silver in 1988, and no gold since Tyrell Biggs in 1984. If Torrez wins his next fight, he’s guaranteed at least bronze.
- Dainier Pero (Cuba) def. Cristian Salcedo (Colombia), 5:0: Doing that won’t be easy for Torrez, though. He’ll have to go through Pero, who beat Torrez by split decision in a semifinal at the 2019 Pan-American Games, where he also beat Salcedo in the championship match to win gold. Pero is definitely skilled, but also leaves some openings; has the “Cuban style” that also comes with some arrogance, instead of the extremely disciplined “Cuban style.” Should be a compelling matchup, one to look forward to for anyone, but particularly if you’re a Team USA or Team Cuba supporter.
- Ivan Veriasov (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Maxime Yegnong (Cameroon), 5:0: Yegnong could clearly crack, may have shaken Veriasov a bit at the end of the second, but Veriasov controlled the pace and geography of the fight, just the more well-rounded boxer. But Yegnong was in there, Veriasov could never get too comfortable.
- Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan) def. Yousry Rezk Mostafa (Egypt), 5:0: Kunkabayev, the No. 2 seed, is kind of a rival for top seed and gold favorite Bakhodir Jalolov, but it’s a rivalry where one side (Jalolov) always wins. Kunkabayev is a skilled boxer, won this clearly, but he also wanted nothing to do with the power of Rezk Mostafa, and you have to wonder about that going forward in Tokyo.
- Ingrit Valencia (Colombia) def. Mary Kom (India), 3:2: Really felt like the last time we may see Mary Kom in a ring given the way she took the loss, very graciously, very congratulatory toward Valencia, who won bronze in Rio and moves on in Tokyo. Valencia is very good, but even past her best years, the legendary Kom is still no pushover at 38, has a ton of fire and good ability still. This was a damn good fight, too, so if Kom really does hang up the gloves here, then she goes out on a good one, even in defeat. And she is a genuine legend of amateur boxing, a true icon. Six-time Worlds gold medalist, bronze at London 2012, she’s been fighting at a very high level for two decades and has been a terrific standout for the rise of women’s boxing in the amateur ranks. But Valencia gets the win, and my gut says she did deserve it in a close fight that I wasn’t scoring live.
- Tsukimi Namiki (Japan) def. Graziele Sousa (Brazil), 5:0: Namiki’s energy got this as much as anything, but it’s good energy, and she’s fun to watch. Sousa just wasn’t able to disrupt her enough to have a good argument here, so the home country fighter moves on to the quarters, where she has to face Valencia.
- Stoyka Krasteva (Bulgaria) def. Ginny Fuchs (United States), 5:0: Decision was correct, I thought the only round you could even argue for Fuchs was the first. She just got picked off by little shots from Krasteva way too often. Fuchs’ awkward style probably serves her well quite often, she has odd rhythms to her attacks, but she can also get a little predictable with so many of them being lunges, ranging from sneaky to just ineffective. Once Krasteva figured her out, Fuchs didn’t get much done at all.
- Yuan Chang (China) def. Charley Davison (Great Britain), 5:0: Chang, the No. 2 seed, just too quick for Davison, who is a good fighter, has good form, sort of like teammate Kriss Artingstall at featherweight, but Chang’s speed and timing was too much here. And she was smart; ahead on four cards after two rounds, and knowing she was definitely winning, she ate some time up in the third, and Davison did do some good work, trying to take advantage.