Olympic Boxing Guide And Schedule: The Quarterfinals Part Three

Wednesday brings the last day of men’s Olympic boxing when the loser goes home wearing a frowny face with no medal prize to show for his punching. The women, meanwhile, are already in the semifinals on Wednesday. Our friend Lisa Creech Bledsoe has predictions on what will go down with the ladies, so I’ll focus on previewing the men below, with light flyweights, light welterweights and light heavyweights concluding the Quarterinals.

(Julio la Cruz, left, eliminating Ihab Almatbouli, right)

As always, you can watch online here or look for very delayed rebroadcasts, with a very unpredictable schedule despite what that links says, on CNBC.

Light Flyweight 49kg/108lb

Zou Shiming (China) vs. Birzhan Zhakypov (Kazakhstan): Having narrowly overcome Yosbany Veitia Soto in the Round of 16, Shiming could encounter smoother sailing against Zhakypov, whose own narrow defeat of Mark Barriga has inspired the kind of hysterics in the Philippines more characteristic of what happens when someone says something faintly negative about Manny Pacquiao on the Internet. Actual headlines: “Barriga fought three thugs” and “Talk of ‘boxing mafia’ rises following scandals.” Also, the dean of Philippines boxing writers said in response on Twitter that it’s “time to stand up and fight and die if we must!”

Paddy Barnes (Ireland) vs. Devendro Singh Laishram (India): Both were rather successful in the last round, difference being Barnes was expected to do well and Laishram pulled off an upset. Intriguing match-up.

David Ayrapetyan (Russia) vs. Ferhat Pehlivan (Turkey): Ayrapetyan won a close, meaningful fight against Jantony Ortiz to get here. Pehlivan, meanwhile, has been the subject of gripes throughout, from flopping around in his first fight to benefiting from friendly scoring in his second.

Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thailand) vs. Aleksandar Aleksandrov (Bulgaria): Pongprayoon came in as one of Thailand’s best hopes for a medal in not just boxing but the Olympics as a whole. Aleksandrov shocked #1-ranked Jonghun Shin to get to the Quarterfinals. These Quarterfinals have shown so far that if someone got through the first two rounds by overachieving, they tend to be tougher in reality than they were originally thought. Also, don’t screw with a guy with a first name and last name that are nearly identical. (I wish my name was “Tim Timothy” or something like that.)

Light Welterweight 64kg/141lb

Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo (Cuba) vs. Uktamjon Rahmonov (Uzbekistan): So much for the down year for Cuba, what with so many of their top boxers defecting since the last Olympics. Iglesias took out his top threat in the division in the last round, Everton Lopes, and his other top threat is looking a bit shaky — see below — and Rahmonov isn’t a bigger threat than those two.

Daniyar Yeleussinov (Ukraine) vs. Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy): This stacks up as the most competitive bout of the Quarterfinals in this division. The winner is good enough to give Iglesias some trouble, too.

Tom Stalker (Great Britain) vs. Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg (Mongolia): I’m not totally sold on Stalker. Urangchimeg is a “national hero” in Mongolia, or so I’ve read. Not sure if that trumps home field advantage, though.

Jeff Horn (Australia) vs. Denys Berinchyk (Ukraine): Berinchyk, one of the early favorites in the division, got a very, very stiff challenge from Anthony Yigit, which you can look at as Yigit being better than we thought or Berinchyk being a bit shakier than expected. If it’s the latter, Horn can exploit.

Light Heavyweight 81kg/178.5lb

Julio la Cruz Peraza (Cuba) vs. Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino (Brazil): La Cruz was very, very dominant last round, but Falcao is much better than his last opponent. La Cruz might be the favoritest of the favorites in the various weight classes out there, though.

Elshod Rasulov (Uzbekistan) vs. Egor Mekhontcev (Russia): Neither one of these guys are setting the world ablaze, not that they’re bad. Just seem a bit humbler in their prospects in the shadow of the Cuban and compared to some of the other remaining medal hopefuls.

Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan) vs. Ehsan Rouzbahani (Iran): Niyazymbetov benefited from a bit of favorable scoring in what was nonetheless a legit win in the Round of 16, whereas Rouzbahani scored an upset to get to the Quarterfials. See above, Pongprayoon-Aleksandrov, on how fighters that pull upsets have been doing.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (Ukraine) vs. Abdelhafid Benchabla (Algeria): I had kind of given Osmar Bravo a chance against Gvozdyk, but Govozdyk dominated him to get to ths round. The match-up with Benchabla is a nice one, but Govozdyk looks quite formidable.