Irishman Conlan secures semi-final place after hard-fought fight
Day eleven of the London 2012 Olympic Games with the Men’s Fly (52kg) and Welterweights (69kg) taking to the ring at the ExCeL Arena with eight mouth-watering quarter-finals deciding who makes it onto the podium.
Getting proceeding underway were 17-year-old rising star from Puerto Rico Jeyvier Cintron Ocasio and top seeded Flyweight (52kg) Misha Aloian from Russia. The Puerto Rican southpaw had surprised everyone by making it to this stage of the competition, his height having been a huge asset in his previous two bouts. He looked to make that count again in the early stages against the speedy reigning AIBA World Champion Aloian. However it was not to be as the tactically astute Russian’s quick counter-punching did the business with two sublime left hooks giving him a three point cushion after the first round. Swift one-twos in the second and some nifty footwork from the 24-year-old favourite also saw him continue dominate as he went further ahead in the bout. Aloian looked assured and scored heavily in the final exchanges with the Puerto Rican prodigy simply out boxed. The Russian ensuring his presence in the last four with a polished display that saw him win 23:13.
There was huge support for Mongolia’s 20-year-old Tugstsogt Nyambayar inside the ExCeL as he battled AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Jasurbek Latipov in the second Flyweight (52kg) quarter-final. The Uzbek was inviting Nyambayar to attack him before pouncing with some good hooks on the counter to take the first by a solitary point. The two orthodox fighters were evenly matched but the Mongolian showed more endeavour in the second to make the breakthrough with a precise uppercut and a deft right hook to overturn his deficit. Clearly in the ascendancy and with a point advantage coming into the final round, Nyambayar threw a big left then two huge rights and the 20-year-old Uzbek had to take a standing eight count. The Mongol stormed to a 15:10 victory to set-up a meeting with Aloian in Friday’s semi-finals.
There was huge anticipation for the showdown between the fledgling talent from Ireland Michael Conlan and the experienced Frenchman Nordine Oubaali. It started off at pace with the 2008 French Olympian looking to make his speed compensate for his lack of size. A good right hook from Conlan and a good left straight, amongst the huge number of shots being thrown by both fighters had the points shared in the first. Oubaali was unrelenting in the second, continuously looking for that opening and letting fly from all angles. It was a phenomenal fight as Conlan stood firm to connect with some good hits of his own and there was once again nothing to separate the two in the second round. The Irish southpaw was battling hard, looking to land with the straight jab on several occasions. Fighting at close quarters in the closing stages, the taller Conlan was connecting with several stinging hooks as he looked to take control of the final round. The 20-year-old Irishman was declared the winner at the end of a thrilling contest with the final score 22:18.
"It was a very close fight but we knew it was going to be. It was still level coming into the last round. To go forward I knew I just had to dig deep. It was a hard fight. It was always going to be tough beating him", declared Conlan after ensuring his place in the last four.
The crowd at the packed ExCeL was buzzing as Great Britain’s Andrew Selby made his way into the ring to face the electric Cuban southpaw Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana. The second seeded Brit began by peppering his opponent and constantly switching stance but Ramirez Carrazana seemed unfazed and happy to soak up the pressure before looking to land with some quick combinations of his own. The Cuban’s cleaner connections saw him take the first round by a point. 23-year-old Selby was then flustered and wild in his approach, throwing a lot of punches without actually landing properly in the second and Ramirez Carrazana continued to be dominant to go into the final round with a five point advantage. The energy was sapped from the British hope who just could not deal with the elusive 18-year-old Ramirez Carrazana and the Cuban sensation went on to record a 16:11. It is Conlan up next for the teenager.
"It is a great to be in the semi-finals. I am only 18 years old and it is absolutely incredible for me to be here. I would like to thank my family and all of my people for all the support I have received", stated Ramirez Carrazana afterwards.
Welterweight (69kg) top seed Taras Shelestyuk was up against flamboyant Frenchman Alexis Vastine in the first of their category’s quarter-finals. The Ukrainian AIBA World Champion seemed to struggle with the height of his opponent in the first round as Vastine used his jab effectively to ensured parity in the first round. The 2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist orthodox fighter from France was really upping his game to disrupt the rhythm of his opponent as the high scoring second round was shared again. Vastine was moving well in the third, throwing some good hooks and some good one-twos, making that long reach of his count against the Ukrainian southpaw who continued to stand firm with some solid counters. It went to a count-back and the victory was awarded to Shelestyuk after the scores were tied at 18:18.
Fred Evans of Great Britain was inspired in the first round of his bout with Canadian orthodox fighter Custio Clayton, throwing some powerful shots to the body to take a five point advantage going into the second round. A left hook to the body rocked Clayton and a confident Evans was now fighting gloves down. That seemed to motivate the Canadian as he dragged himself back into the fight with some solid straight rights to reduce the deficit to two points going into the final round. Now going toe-to-toe in the middle of the ring, the two were trading a lot of punches. In the end it was the Brit who went through after being awarded the win on count-back with the scores level at 14:14 after three rounds. Evans now faces Shelestyuk for a place in the final.
The tall Russian orthodox Andrey Zamkovoy had the better of Errol Spence in each of the three round, soaking up the pressure, keeping his defences high before scoring with the left overhead on several occasions. The 25-year-old Zamkovoy made his experience count against the American to move in to the Welterweight (69kg) semi-finals with a well-taken 16:11 victory.
The last bout of the evening saw Venezuela’s Gabriel Maestre Perez pit his wits against AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Serik Sapiyev. The Kazak second seed quickly stamped his authority on proceedings, dictating the tempo of the bout from the centre of the ring with that quick jab to take the first. The Venezuelan fought back, landing some hard shots, one of which had Sapiyev taking a standing eight count, but the 28-year-old Kazak managed to gather his senses and scored vital points towards the end of the round to draw the second. It was an entertaining finale as both fighters went for it, but this played right into the hands of the savvy Sapiyev as he landed a succession of crisp counter-punches to win comprehensively 20:9.
Wednesday will be huge with the Women’s semi-finals during the afternoon session and in the evening, the quarter-finals for the Men’s Light Fly (46-49kg), Light Welter (64kg) and Light Heavyweight (81kg) categories.
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