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LONDON 2012, EVANS COMES OUT ON TOP IN THRILLER

 

Evans comes out on top in thriller

Photo AIBA/Caroline Quinn

The seventh day of competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games saw the second round of preliminaries in the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) and Welterweight (69kg) categories. The packed ExCeL arena once again reserved a huge reception for all the boxers during the afternoon session.

Top seed Misha Aloian, the reigning World and European Champion, made his bow in the competition as he faced tough Algerian Samir Brahimi in the first Flyweight (52kg) contest. Looking to connect first with the body shots then with those hard one-two combinations, Aloian was keen to impose himself on his opponent from the off.  Brahimi was proving a difficult rival to breakdown, constantly moving, very elusive, doing everything he could to unsettle the Russian, even a spot of showboating. Aloian’s superior technique though ensured he went through to the quarter-finals after winning each round to progress with an impressive 14:9 victory.
 
It was an intriguing contest between Juliao Henriques Neto from Brazil and Jeyvier Cintron Ocasio as the young Puerto Rican southpaw’s fearless approach disturbed his experienced opponent. In the first, Cintron Ocasio used his height and reach to keep the 30-year-old orthodox Brazilian at bay before upping his work rate in the second as he threw a good variation of hooks and uppercuts to increase his advantage by two points coming into the third. The final round was intense as Henriques Neto looked to claw back his deficit but the 17-year-old Cintron Ocasio’s quality counter punches ensured he took the round and moved into the last eight with a quality 18:13 triumph. He will now battle it out with Aloian with a guaranteed medal position awaiting the winner.

"I am very happy with the victory, it was tough, but now I am fighting for a medal. I know it will be extremely difficult against the Russian but I am going to give it my all", stated the young Puerto Rican after his success.
 
Uzbekistan’s Jasurbek Latipov’s speed was the real difference against Hesham Abdelaal in the session’s third bout, as he pummelled him with some lightening quick combinations to take the first round in style. The Egyptian came back in the second with some shots of his own but 20-year-old Latipov cranked up the pressure to completely dominate proceedings. Quick and nimble, the Uzbek southpaw was so accurate with his shots; it was a joy to watch. Abdelaal was positive but every time he opened up to throw a punch, he was getting caught by some exquisite counters. AIBA World Championships bronze medallist Latipov looked assured and composed throughout and eased convincingly into the quarter-finals with a 21:11 win.

In the final Flyweight (52kg) contest of the afternoon session, 2008 Olympic Games bronze medallist Vincenzo Picardi from Italy began brightly against the dangerous Mongol Tugstsogt Nyambayar, throwing a lot of punches to his rival’s body in the opening exchanges to claim the round. However after getting caught by a thunderous right hook, the Italian quickly changed tactic to adopt a more restraint approach in the second. Nyambayar had clearly rattled his opponent and turned the fight on its head as he began to exert his authority and dominate to take that round. The crowd were really enjoying this one with both neck and neck going into the third. It was a battle of wits in the final round, with lots of punches being traded in the centre of the ring. The Mongol seemed to have the better stamina as he raised the tempo and the Italian struggled to get to grips with him. In the end Nyambayar took control to book a quarter-final showdown with Latipov after edging it 17:16.

Moldova’s University World Champion Vasilii Belous faced the hardest challenge of his career to date when he faced the supreme Ukrainian Taras Shelestyuk in the first of the four Welterweight (69kg) bouts of the session. The tall southpaw tried to use his jab but AIBA World Champion Shelestyuk was just too good, gliding across the canvas and planting every shot right on its target. Belous competed throughout but the class of the Ukrainian shone through as he confirmed his status as one of the gold medal favourites with a comprehensive 15:7 victory.

Shelestyuk declared after the win, "There are never any easy battles. I had to work hard and do my job. It is not easy because there are a lot of champions in the draw".

The flamboyant Alexis Vastine and Tuvshinbat Byamba from Mongolia were involved in a riveting contest with the tall 25-year-old Frenchman looking to use his reach against his fearless and plucky opponent in the early stages. The points however were shared after a tactical first round. In the second, Vastine’s aggression paid off as he landed several good hooks and as his confidence grew, the swagger and the showboating began. For once however, he kept on looking for that opening and as a result scored heavily to take a three point advantage into the final round. Byamba battled hard in the latter stages to make up his deficit but European Championships silver medallist Vastine held on to record a hard-fought 13:12 win.
 
"At the Olympics there is a lot of pressure. Usually my boxing is more relaxed. I experienced a huge atmosphere in Beijing but the one in London is so much more and you feel like you need to perform. I think today I managed to do that". On facing Shelestyuk, “He is beatable, his simple style is what makes him so strong but it is also his weakness so I could cause him a few problems”.

It was evenly matched between Australia’s Cameron Hammond and Custio Clayton of Canada in the penultimate bout of the afternoon session. Both orthodox fighters had impressed in the first round of preliminaries. Clayton was conceding height and reach so kept trying to move inside and land that big overhead but Hammond was resilient, repelling those attacks with his stiff jab. After both the first two rounds were shared on points, there was all to fight for in the third. Clayton began to show his power by throwing several punishing hooks and the Canadian will have been delighted with that final round performance which saw him prevail 14:11.
 
Bringing the session to a close was the much anticipated showdown between European Champion Fred Evans from Great Britain and Lithuanian hard man Egidijus Kavaliauskas in a bout that lived up to its billing. In a real thriller, Evans began well by landing a left jab then a good right with the young Brit seemingly imposing himself in the first but then he got caught a couple of times and Kavaliauskas took the round. In the second, Evans tightened up those defences and a good left followed by a good one-two saw him draw level on points by taking the round. That left continued to reach its target in the third with the Brit, clearly in the ascendancy, now showboating and boxing with his hands down and landing a good right hook in the process. It was a double celebration for the British southpaw in the end, avenging his defeat by Kavaliauskas at the World Championships last year and ensuring his place in the last eight where he will now face 24-year-old Custio Clayton.

The day’s evening session will have another eight bouts with the remaining Flyweights (52kg) and Welterweights (69kg) seeking to book their places for the competition’s quarter-finals.

Sourcewww.aiba-london2012.com/index.php/news/528-evans-comes-out-on-top-in-thriller

 

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