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Spence decision reversed; USA back in business

After reviewing the video of Bout #142 involving Welterweights (69kg) Krishan Vikas (India) and Errol Spence (USA), the AIBA Competition Jury found that 1) there were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However the Referee only gave one caution, and 2) In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spit out his mouthpiece intentionally. However the Referee didn’t give any warning. Based on these findings, the Competition Jury Members unanimously decided the following:

– Decision #1: Based on the AIBA Technical & Competition Rules 12.1.9, the Referee should have given at least two (2) warnings to the Indian boxer.

– Decision #2: Although the boxer from India intentionally spit out his mouthpiece, the Referee’s view was blocked by the boxer from the USA and was not able to see the action.

Final Decision: Based on Decision #1, at least four (4) points should have been awarded to the boxer from the USA. Therefore the final score should be 13:15 in favour of the USA. The protest is accepted and the winner of Bout #142 is Errol Spence (USA).

The seventh day of competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games saw the second round of preliminaries for the Men’s Flyweight (52kg) and Welterweight (69kg) categories. The atmosphere was red-hot with eight adrenaline fuelled contests lighting up the ExCeL arena.

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.

Evening Session

USA Team captain and third seed Raushee Warren, now a three-time Olympian, got the Flyweight (52kg) action underway as he faced Nordine Oubaali from France. It was fast and furious straight from the off between the two electric southpaws. Trading punches throughout, these two talented boxers were not giving each other an inch. Two superb left hooks by the experienced Warren saw him edge the first round. Oubaali came back strong and went on the attack in the second. Although the American’s slick counter-punches were doing damage early on, the Frenchman’s jabs began penetrating his rival’s defences. His hook also connected several times and Oubaali clawed his way back to go into the final round with a slender point deficit. The French fighter was extremely positive and took the initiative from then on, putting Warren on the back foot all the way through an explosive final round. Oubaali was delighted as he triumphed 19:18 in a real classic.

“I knew Warren would be a hard fight, he is a three-time Olympian. He is a counter puncher so I had to go large with my shots in order for him to always be on the back foot. It was a great strategy by my coaches. We knew the first round would probably be lost, but that if I continually applied pressure I could unsettle him, and that is what happened”, beamed Oubaali after the fight.

Promising Irishman Michael Conlan, a bronze medallist at the AIBA World Boxing Championships Baku 2011, showed just why he is rated so highly, putting in a real polished performance against Duke Micah from Ghana. The 20-year-old orthodox fighter from Ireland let his jabs do the talking before swiftly moving to work the body and throw several stinging uppercuts. Micah was brave but could not cope with his opponent’s excellence. Conlan, seeded sixth, comfortably won each round on his way to a classy 19:8 victory to set up a quarter-final meeting with Oubaali.

Thai southpaw Chatchai Butdee began his contest with rising star Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana at breakneck speed, throwing lots of shots to try and dictate the tempo of the fight. This however was playing right into the hands of the expert counter-puncher from Cuba, who landed some great hooks in both the first and second rounds to score heavily. In the third, Ramirez Carrazana turned on the style and seemed to hit his target each time he let fly, with a couple of thunderous straight one-twos rocking the man from Thailand. It was a vintage performance by the Cuban who won 22:10 against a top opponent, sending out a real message of intent to the other pretenders in the draw.

The crowd went wild as the last two Flyweight (52kg) boxers made their big entrance. Representing Great Britain was Andrew Selby, one of the most technically gifted boxers across the ten weight categories, and in the opposite corner the savvy Kazak Ilyas Suleimonov. It was superb right from the start with some great movement and sensational footwork by both boxers making for a fight out of the very top drawer. Evenly matched in the first, Selby did enough to shade it by a point. In the second however, the Brit’s unrelenting style was beginning to overawe Suleimonov. The third and final round was simply outstanding as both fighters displayed a tremendous attitude and the crowd was treated to a real boxing spectacle. Ultimately it was the supremely talented Selby who took the victory 19:15. Seeded second, the ambidextrous British boxer, who switches stance at will, now faces the impressive Ramirez Carrazana for a place in the semi-finals.

After the bout, Selby told the media, “I had sparred with him before so I was prepared. The game plan was to catch him as he charged in. I think what made the difference was that I was just a little bit faster than him. I will need to improve but it is a good start”.

Krishan Vikas versus Errol Spence in the first Welterweight (69kg) contest of the evening went to appeal and Spence was awarded the victory on review after the 13-11 decision was overturned.

25-year-old Adam Nolan from Ireland started well against the tough Russian Andrey Zamkovoy, using good head movement to dodge his opponent’s swinging hooks before unleashing some solid one-two combinations. The Russian southpaw however caught his rival twice in quick succession to edge the first round in the closing stages. Nolan continued to be bright and positive with the right hook landing on his intended target but the compact Zamkovoy’s economical style was paying dividends as time and time again he breached the defences of the Irishman with some good combinations. The inexperience of Nolan told in the latter stages as the Russian now began to dominate and unload at will, the Irishman taking a standing eight count in the third. Zamkovoy is now looking like a dark horse in this draw after that resounding 18:9 victory, which sees him battle Vikas in the next stage of this enthralling competition.

South Africa’s Siphiwe Lusizi versus Gabriel Maestre Perez of Venezuela was a very interesting fight with both seemingly only concerned with going forward throughout the three rounds. It made for a spectacular show with each boxer taking turns throwing punches. Lusizi, a southpaw, edged the first round with his effective jabs, but in the second Maestre Perez was inspired, connecting with a high volume of his shots as his South African opponent seemed to forget about the defensive side of the noble art. The Venezuelan applied the pressure in the third to close out the contest and win 18:13.

Welterweight (69kg) second seed from Kazakhstan Serik Sapiyev faced Japanese southpaw Yasuhiro Suzuki in the last bout of the day. The experienced AIBA World Championships silver medallist Sapiyev showed his class and made his experience count with some clever movement and some expert selection of punches to dominate the first two rounds with real panache. The 24-year-old from Japan was devoid of ideas against the superiority of Sapiyev and the Kazak confirmed his status as one of the favourites with this resounding 25:11 victory. He now will battle Maestre Perez with a semi-final position at stake.

* * *

Tomorrow sees the Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Light Welterweights (64kg) and Light Heavyweights (81kg) take to the ring, with 24 bouts over two sessions.




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