Let’s say you haven’t thrown up in your mouth enough over the last week or so. Maybe you’re asking yourself: What can I do to remedy that? Well, I’ve got good news, friends. Olympic boxing isn’t over. The Quarterfinals will continue for three more days, and this preview will get you through two of them. This will take you through the lightweights, middleweights, super heavyweights (Monday), flyweights and welterweights (Tuesday).
It’s too bad that this all has to be so contemptible. I’ve been enjoying the action in the ring more than any Olympics in a long time. It’s just that too much ugly business is happening to end too many bouts, and no amount of International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) “Editorial Guidance” can make me ignore a potential cause of some of it. If you want to keep watching for reasons other than insufficient internal mouth vomit, there are reasons, too — a look at some future pros, the chance that you’ll see some high-level action that works out OK, whatever. Just be prepared to swallow some gallons of vomit along the way, is all.
Errol Spence, Jr. America’s savior. Pictured below first, not even a new picture you haven’t seen here before, then on to the previews. As usual, hour-by-hour schedules can be found here, where you can watch online or find out when you can watch on your TV.
Lightweight – 60kg/132.2lb
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) vs. Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico): Lomachenko. That’s a reason to watch. Apparently the man is haughty toward the media, and that could hurt his eventual pro career and all, but his apparent iciness outside the ring matches his sub-zero perfection inside it. He’s facing another efficienct operator in Verdejo, but if anyone stops Lomachenko’s run to gold, that’s automatically the biggest upset of the Olympics.
Gani Zhailauov (Kazakhstan) vs. Yasniel Toledo Lopez (Cuba): Here’s your threat to Lomachenko, if anyone, although Zhailauov lost to him in another amateur bout not so long ago. Zhailauov won on countback in his first bout but had an easier time of if the second. Never underestimate a Cuban, though, with that country doing quite well overall despite all the defections.
Domenico Valentino (Italy) vs. Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania): Whatever his pretty, pretty movie star name, Valentino is one of the couple Italian fighters out ther mugging his opponents. Whatever works, I guess. Petrauskas’ style is far more fan-friendly by all accounts, but Valentino comes in with more acclaim for his ability.
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (Uzbekistan) vs. Soonchul Han (South Korea): Han upset his way into the Quarterfinals, while Gaibnazarov beat Team USA’s Jose Ramirez to get here. Of the four fights in the lightweight bracket, the winner of this matchup comes out the weakest unless he does something extraordinary.
Middleweight – 75kg/165.3lb
Anthony Ogogo (Great Britain) vs. Stefan Hartel (Germany): Both of these guys feel like they’re just eeking by with Ogogo (Chris Berman would call him “Wake Me Up Before You”) scoring a controversial decision to get here and Hartel upsetting his way into the Quarters.
Zoltan Harcsa (Hungary) vs. Esquiva Falcao (Brazil): Harcsa gets the “methodical but effective” label, while Falcao beat an Azerbaijani fighter to get here, so who knows what kind of mojo or connections he’s got.
Abbos Atoev (Uzbekistan) vs. Vijender Singh (India): Singh is lucky to be in the Quarters after a panned decision over Team USA’s Terrell Gausha, but Singh didn’t peform badly. Atoev comes in off his own disputed decision. Somebody has to move on, right?
Adem Kilicci (Turkey) vs. Ryoto Murata (Japan): Kilicci, now this is a fighter who looks tought to beat. But Murata has also performed well in the Games. This could be a good ‘un.
Super Heavyweight – 91kg+/200.6lb+
Magomedrasul Medzhidov (Azerbaijan) vs. Magomed Omarov (Russia): OK, here’s an Azerbaijani fighter who needs no fluffing. Omarov took out our Team USA guy with little trouble. Kinda interested in what happens when these two meet.
Mohammed Arjaoui (Morocco) vs. Roberto Cammarelle (Italy): Cammarelle is looking to repeat on his 2008 gold and got off to a good start despite getting a scare late in his last bout, while Arjaoui had little trouble with his Round of 16 opponent. This strikes me as one of those “Wouldn’t be too surprised if the underdog won,” but not much more than that.
Ivan Dychko (Kazakhstan) vs. Simon Kean (Canada): Dychko had an easy time getting to the QFs. Kean got his damn mouthpiece knocked out of his head. Kean rallied to get his victory, so he’s got some spirit, but…
Zhang Zhilei (China) vs. Anthony Joshua (Great Britain): Joshua arrives in the Quarterfinals with a controversial victory over Erislandy Savon that carried him to ’em, but he was always a potential medal contender and Zhilei has the potential to extract some karmic revenge. I’m pretty sure that’s how karma works. REVENGE.
Flyweight – 52kg/114.6lb
Misha Aloian (Russia) vs. Jeyvier Cintron (Puerto Rico): If you take each of their last performances into account, we might have a real fight on our hands. If you take Cintron’s so-so debut and improved performance in the Round of 16 and keep in mind that Aloian had a bye in the first round, that could spell trouble for Cintron. Aloian is the pre-Olympics favorite, anyhow.
Jasurbek Latipov (Uzbekistan) vs. Tugstsogt Nyambayar (Mongolia): Latipov is a bit of a young prodigy and has taken care of business so far, while Nyambar’s last bout was a close slugfest.
Nordine Oubaali (France) vs. Michael Conlan (Ireland): Oubaali is a rough one, having upset our Rau’Shee Warren, while Conlan is another peculiarly slick non-stereotypical Irish boxer a la countryman John Joe Nevin. I suppose Oubaali could show something here but Conlan should be good.
Robeisy Ramirez (Cuba) vs. Andrew Selby (Great Britain): Selby got off to a rocky start. Ramirez got off to a smooth one. Selby was an early medal hope for the Brits, and still is, but with Cubans showing their class whether they have a big rating coming in or not, Ramirez is exactly the kind of guy who can rock a boat with his, um, smoothness.
Welterweight – 69kg/152.1lb
Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine) vs. Alexis Vastine (France): Shelestyuk is the reigning champ. Vastine has done well in the Olympics so far, but I don’t think anyone confuses that for being a real threat to the Ukranian.
Custio Clayton (Canada) vs. Freddie Evans (Great Britain): A battle for the Queen’s heart! Alas, Evans has the pedigree and Clayton is limping into the Quarterfinals. Things get more intersting with Shelestyuk-Evans, if it comes to that.
Errol Spence (United States) vs. Andrey Zamkovoy (Russia): All that rigomarole, and for what? Spence rolls into this fight as America’s last hope to medal, and does so as the underdog to the Russian. Would that Spence could pull it off, because he’d guarantee that Team USA at least equals its previous worst-ever showing.
Gabriel Maestre (Venezuela) vs. Serik Sapiyev (Kazakhstan): Sapiyev comes in with the esteem, Maestre comes in with the not-really victory. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.