Women’s flyweight (Quarterfinals)
- Tsukimi Namiki def. Ingrit Valencia (Colombia), 5:0: Valencia won bronze in Rio, but she’ll go home from Tokyo empty-handed, losing to the host country fighter, who just moved around and darted in and out too quickly, landing little flurries and getting away before Valencia could do much in return. She’s the second qualified women’s boxing medalist from Japan at these Olympics, following Sena Irie, who is set for the gold medal match at featherweight. In the round of 16, we saw Valencia trade with plenty of fire against fellow vet Mary Kom, but Kom doesn’t move anymore like Namiki does. Namiki’s feet just gave Valencia fits, and Namiki is now guaranteed at least bronze.
- Stoyka Krasteva (Bulgaria) def. Yuan Chang (China), 4:1: Abnormally slow and fairly dull for a flyweight bout, but Krasteva’s work was that important bit better. They have similar styles, so a lot of the fight was spent staring and posturing, much more than you see in most Olympic fights. Krasteva, who fought at London 2012 but didn’t go to Rio 2016 and flirted with retiring for a while, feeling top level success was probably past her, now has at least a bronze medal at 35.
Men’s featherweight (Quarterfinals)
- Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) def. Chatchai-decha Butdee (Thailand), 3:2: Alvarez won bronze in London as a bantamweight and again in Rio as a lightweight. He’s got bronze guaranteed but wants more here in Tokyo. A lot of people are not going to remember how good of an amateur fighter Butdee was and is, because prior to Tokyo his talk was this was going to be his last Olympics, and if so, he goes out without an Olympic medal. But I’ve seen him fight at three Olympics now. He is a terrific fighter, and he pushed Alvarez to his limit here in an extremely close affair. If this was it for him, he goes out with true pride.
- Albert Batyrgaziev (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Tsendbaatar Erdenebat (Mongolia), 3:2: Batyrgaziev, the No. 2 seed, was down 5-0 after the first round, and was down 20-18 on three cards going into the third. That meant he needed something special. We’ve seen that a lot. It’s extremely rare to see “something special” happen in the third. But according to one key judge — the Algerian judge, Mohamed Besmi — Batyrgaziev did it, and by forcing a standing eight count on Erdenebat in the third, he got a 10-8 round. That meant there were four cards of 29-28, two apiece, and one card (Besmi’s) of 28-28, who chose Batyrgaziev as his “preferred winner.” Heartbreak for Erdenebat, about as close as it gets.
Men’s welterweight (Semifinal)
- Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) def. Andrey Zamkovoy (Russian Olympic Committee), 5:0: Iglesias moves on to face Great Britain’s Pat McCormack for gold. The 34-year-old Zamkovoy is still very capable, a 2012 bronze medalist, standout internationally for years, but this is the level he falls short at at this point, just couldn’t handle the all-around skill set of Iglesias. But Zamkovoy gets another bronze medal, while Iglesias looks for his second Olympic gold, following one at the now-defunct light welterweight in 2012. (He also won bronze in Beijing in 2008 and did not medal at Rio 2016.)
Men’s middleweight (Quarterfinals)
- Hebert Sousa (Brazil) def. Amilkhan Amankul (Kazakhstan), 3:2: Was close through two rounds, four judges gave Sousa the last one and he’s through to the semifinals, guaranteed at least a bronze. Sousa’s a real character, even when it’s not going all his way you wouldn’t be able to tell just paying attention to his confidence and body language. He’s that kind of guy.
- Gleb Bakshi (Russian Olympic Committee) def. Dennis Valsaint Jr (Haiti), 5:0: Valsaint, a Miami native representing Haiti, really tried to rough this up, and that gave Bakshi problems in the first round especially, where Valsaint won three cards. But it became clear that Valsaint was taking that approach because flat-out, he can’t beat Bakshi in a boxing contest. Not at this stage of their respective careers. And the danger with constantly grappling, wrestling, holding, etc. is you might lose a point or get DQ’d. Valsaint did lose a point in the second. Bakshi was just better, and won as he should have.
Men’s light heavyweight (Semifinal)
- Arlen Lopez (Cuba) def. Loren Alfonso Dominguez (Azerbaijan), 5:0: Lopez advances to the gold medal match to face Ben Whittaker of Great Britain. He won gold in Rio as a middleweight, looks for another here. This was the second Cuban vs ex-Cuban matchup in Tokyo, and the Cubans won both. Here, Dominguez started really well in the first, playing good defense, landing enough sharp counters, but Lopez stopped loading up so much and took over from there. It was 29-28 across the board, as it should have been.
Men’s super heavyweight (Quarterfinals)
- Richard Torrez Jr (United States) def. Dainier Pero (Cuba), 4:1: Torrez won this on pure hustle in the third round, as he had the better engine. Pero had an argument with some good shots landed early in the round, and I was convinced the judges would nick it his way — four cards were even after two rounds — but they liked the effort of Torrez more. Both were exhausted by the end, as they cut a wild pace for big guys in the first two, but it was Pero who showed it more obviously. With Torrez guaranteed at least bronze, he’s broken a long cold streak for the United States, who have not won a medal in this division since Riddick Bowe’s silver in 1988. The last gold was Tyrell Biggs in 1984.
- Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan) def. Ivan Veriasov (Russian Olympic Committee), 4:1: Veriasov’s going to be kicking himself over the first round here, where he allowed Kunkabayev to box too comfortably. After that, Veriasov was plenty competitive — if he’d split that first round up, he might be moving on to the semis. He did not.