Olympic Boxing Guide And Schedule: The Men’s Round Of 16 Part One

After just four days of men’s boxing at London 2012, the size of the field has been cut nearly in half. Unlike the round of 32, which wound down yesterday, the top seeds in every division will be boxing. There are no byes. We already covered the heavyweights and super heavyweights in the preview of the first round, as those divisions only have 16 (or less) boxers competing. You can view that here, as well as a more detailed look at the super heavyweight picture.

In this first part of the round of 16 preview, we take a look at the bantamweights, fighting Wednesday, and the lightweights and middleweights, fighting Thursday. American bantamweight Joseph Diaz, Jr. headed the last schedule and since he’s progressed to this round, we may as well make it a tradition.

(Joseph Diaz Jr, right, in action against Pavlo Ishchenko in the round of 32; photo via Los Angeles Times)

 As in the round of 32, there are two sessions of boxing each day, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening. Each session features either two or three weight classes. Check your local providers for TV times. In the USA, CNBC will air most sessions of boxing live every day, from 8:30-11:30 a.m. eastern and 3:30-6:30 p.m. Now let’s get to it.

Bantamweight – 56kg/123.4lb – 1 August

The aforementioned Diaz has a really tough ask in the first fight of the night, against Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba, the world champion. They met in the quarterfinals in Baku last year with Alvarez largely outboxing the Californian part-time waiter and going on to win gold. How Diaz learns from last time will be the key. The most competitive match of the day at bantam could be classy Irishman John Joe Nevin taking on hard hitting Kazakh Kanat Abutilipov. The lone Mexican left in the tournament, Oscar Valdez, has an uphill battle against Asian champion, Tajikistan’s Anvar Yunusov. Australia’s Ibrahim Balla is likewise matched hard with Bulgarian Detelin Dalakliev. Meanwhile, Great Britain’s world number two, Luke Campbell, may have thing a little easier against Italy’s Vittorio Parrinello.

Middleweight – 75kg/165.3lb – 2 August

Much like the first round, the round of 16 is anyone’s guess at middleweight. Team GB’s Anthony Ogogo will have to improve on his first round performance against overmatched Dominican Javier Castillo if he wants to beat Ukrainian world champ Levgen Khytrov. Team USA’s Terrell Gausha has a really tough one against Beijing bronze medallist, Indian Vijender Singh, but he proved in his first round knockout victory that he has the power to get out of a tight spot. I think he might get the upset. Ryoto Murata of Japan, the bookmaker’s favourite to take gold, has a relatively easy fight against Algerian Abdelmalek Rahou, who came in fourth at the African qualification tournament. Likewise Ireland’s Darren O’Neill, who faces German soldier Stefan Hartel.

Lightweight – 60kg/132.2lb – 2 August

The Dominican Republic’s well-named Wellington Arrias has the misfortune of running into Vasyl Lomachenko after a spirited victory in the first round. I know how this movie ends. Britain’s Josh Taylor, who upset Brazil’s Robson Conceicao in the round of 16, draws another short straw in facing Italy’s Domenico Valentino, a leading light of the division for the best part of a decade. Cuba’s Yasnier Toledo, perhaps the best chance to upset Lomachenko, faces the Asian Championships silver medallist Qiang Liu in what might be a tactical affair. The USA’s Jose Ramirez has Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov and a pretty clear path to a medal, despite a very difficult division.

Stay tuned for the second part of the round of 16 preview the day after tomorrow.