- Yuberjen Martinez (Colombia) def. Amit (India), 4:1: Amit came in as the top seed, but he didn’t get an easy pull here, either, as Martinez was the 2016 silver medalist at light flyweight and brings monster pressure. It was the pressure of Martinez that put him through. In the opening round, Amit looked slick, confident on the counters, and he won that round. But it took a lot out of him, and that showed in the second when Martinez took it up another notch, and by the third Amit was literally running around the ring, stopping sometimes to try landing enough pokey shots for the judges, then running around again. But the judges didn’t buy it, and Yuberjen moves on to the quarters.
- Ryomei Tanaka (Japan) def. Jianguan Hu (China), 3:1:1: Tanaka gets a somewhat lucky break here, as Hu got cut in the second round; multiple cuts, actually, and they sent it to the cards, where one judge had it even, one had it 20-18 for Hu, and three had it 20-18 for Tanaka. Tanaka won three cards in the first and Hu spent so much time in what we got of the second worried about the cuts that it was hard to score that one Hu’s way. Bad break for Hu, as he looked to certainly have the ability to win this, but it’s boxing.
- Shakhobidin Zoirov (Uzbekistan) def. Daniel Varela de Pina (Cape Verde), 5:0: Zoirov, the gold medalist from Rio 2016, was just too skilled, too classy for de Pina, but the underdog gave this what he had, put the pressure on as much as he could. Zoirov is going to be tough to beat again, but if we get to a Martinez-Zoirov semifinal, that could be a real hoot.
- Carlo Paalam (Philippines) def. Mohamed Flissi (Algeria), 5:0: No. 4 seed Flissi goes down in his first fight in Tokyo. He’s a three-time Olympian now and has come up short of the medal rounds every time out. Here, he ran into a good young fighter from the Philippines, who just put on a well-schooled, tighter performance here, dictating the fight from the get-go. The Filipino team seems to get better every Olympics, you can’t overstate how much the pro success of Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, and so many others has meant to the investment in and dedication to boxing there, it seems.
- Keyshawn Davis (United States) def. Sofiane Oumiha (France), RSC: Listen, I’m rooting for Davis. I’m thrilled that he won, and he looked good. I think he’s the best gold medal hope across either of the USA squads, and beating the No. 1 seed and 2016 silver medalist is no joke at all, this is great. But I think the referee stopped this too soon, man. I really do. Oumiha is a terrific boxer and it’s not like he was staggering around or cut or something. Davis forced a standing eight with a great right hand in the second round, the referee gave the count, then stopped it. Oumiha was heartbroken, obviously, and Davis was a real gentleman; yes, he celebrated, but he also paid his respects to a very good opponent who may have gotten the shaft a bit here. But hey, the referee is the one right there looking directly into Oumiha’s eyes, and we know the officials prioritize safety over everything at the Olympics. Davis moves on to the quarters. Feel for Oumiha, but also, USA! USA! USA!
- Gabil Mamedov (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Richarno Colin (Mauritius), 5:0: I thought Colin got the shaft a bit in the first round, where he did some good work but four judges gave it to Mamedov. But Mamedov did win the second and third rounds, I don’t have a problem with the outcome. Mamedov’s a good fighter, will be another tough matchup for Davis in the quarters.
- Hovhannes Bachkov (Armenia) def. Javid Chalabiyev (Azerbaijan), 4:1: An absolute war of a fight. First round went to Chalabiyev on four cards, but Bachkov’s constant pressure and just being better at the style they established in the first put him through in the latter two rounds. He’s a real handful, just a hell of a fighter. Certainly not the most technically sound guy you’ll see in Tokyo, but a warrior.
- Elnur Abduraimov (Uzbekistan) def. Bakhodur Usmonov (Tajikistan), 5:0: Four-seed Abduraimov just too good here, didn’t have much real trouble with Usmonov, and will be a hard style matchup for Bachkov, but Bachkov basically fights the one way so it’ll either work or not. Depends on how Abduraimov deals with the pressure, really. Some good top half quarters set at lightweight, though.
Women’s middleweight (Quarterfinals)
Winner guaranteed at least a bronze medal.
- Lauren Price (Great Britain) def. Atheyna Bylon (Panama), 5:0: One judge gave Bylon the third, but other than that it was all Price on the cards, and it was all Price in the ring. Just never really competitive, not even close. Top seed Price too technically sound and too good for Bylon.
- Nouchka Fontijn (Netherlands) def. Tammara Thibeault (Canada), 5:0: Fontijn will medal at a second straight Olympics after winning silver in 2016. She faces Price in the semifinal, loser getting bronze. Thibeault’s best round was the first; I thought she lost that, but four judges did see it her way and it was close, but then Fontijn just took over in the second and third rounds, no debate on the winner here.
Women’s featherweight (Semifinal)
- Nesthy Petecio (Philippines) def. Irma Testa (Italy), 4:1: Testa swept the first round, and it appeared her superior height and reach were going to give Petecio fits. But the Filipina boxer bit down, adjusted, and took the fight to Testa, sweeping the second round and putting it all on the line in the third. Testa still couldn’t figure out what to do with the aggression of Petecio in the third, but she did muddy it up some with holding, and that convinced the Argentine judge to go the Italian’s way in the third. But the others went — rightly, in my view — to Petecio, who now moves on to fight for gold, while Testa will go home with a bronze.