The evening session saw the Men’s semi-finals for the Flyweight (52kg), Lightweight (60kg), Welterweight (69kg), Light Heavyweight (81kg) and Super Heavyweight (91+kg) categories entertain the capacity crowd at the ExCeL.
In the first contest of the evening, AIBA Flyweight (52kg) World Champion Misha Aloian faced the tough Mongolian Tugstsogt Nyambayar and struggled to get to grips with the tricky orthodox fighter. The diminutive Russian southpaw could simply not get past that strong jab of Nyambayar’s, who was countering with gusto and scoring vital points as he took the first two rounds. With strong support from the crowd, the Mongolian was rising to the occasion and continued to dominate the exchanges and frustrate the top seed, Nyambayar ensuring his presence in the final after a well-taken 15:11 victory.
Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana had been instilled as the favourite for the Flyweight (52kg) after eliminating Andrew Selby in the quarter-finals, and he began in style against promising 20-year-old Irishman Michael Conlan. The speed and movement of the Cuban southpaw was causing his opponent all sorts of trouble as he took the first round by three points. Ramirez Carrazana, still only 18, was showing maturity and technique beyond his tender years, weaving effortlessly and letting fly from all angles as he took the second. The teenaged Cuban was simply irresistible in the third as he stepped up the pace and exhibited a collection of precise hits, one four punch combination seeing Conlan take a standing eight count. Ramirez Carrazana was unstoppable as he won in style 20:10 to set-up meeting with Nyambayar in the final.
In a repeat of the AIBA World Championships Baku 2011 final, Ukraine superstar Vasyl Lomachenko battled his big rival Yasnier Toledo Lopez of Cuba in the first Lightweight (60kg) semi-finals. There was a lot of respect in between the two in the early exchanges but a sublime right body blow by the Cuban sprung Lomachenko into action and the first round was drawn. The Ukrainian Olympic Featherweight (57kg) gold medallist from 2008 was brighter in the second and some good hooks ensured he took a two point advantage going into the final round. He oozed confidence in the third and closed out the fight to triumph 14:11.
Lithuanian raging bull Evaldas Petrauskas was up to his old tricks against the tall Soonchul Han from South Korea as he continuously hounded down his rival to work him on the inside. Han though used the jab wisely to take the first by a point against the 2010 Youth Olympic Champion. The clever game plan of the South Korean continued in the second and third rounds as he landed precisely on the advancing Petrauskas to record a 18:13 victory, he now faces Lomachenko in the final.
In the first on the Welterweight (69kg) bouts, Great Britain’s Fred Evans looked like the boxer who had emphatically claimed the European title two years ago in his showdown with Ukrainian top seed Taras Shelestyuk. The 21-year-old British southpaw looked hungry and on his toes as he landed several quality right hooks to take a three point advantage going into the second round. Shelestyuk tried to regain the initiative but Fred Evans held firm as they traded blows in the centre of the ring to draw the second round. With his three point advantage, Evans boxed clever to hold on to his lead and won 11:10.
It was the clash of the Eastern heavy-hitters in the bout that would decide who would meet Evans in the Welterweight (69kg) final as Andrey Zamkovoy locked horns with second seeded Kazak Serik Sapiyev. The 25-year-old Russian southpaw quickly struggled against the speed and accuracy of his opponent as Sapiyev landed some solid straight and some deft hooks to score heavily in the first round. The experience of the 2008 Beijing Olympian from Kazakhstan told in the final two rounds as a spirited fight back by Zamkovoy was thwarted and Sapiyev went on to claim a resounding 18:12 victory.
Yamaguchi Falcao Florentino looked to emulate his younger brother by also reaching an Olympic final in London. In his way though, was the impressive Russian Egor Mekhontcev, in the first of two Light Heavyweight (81kg) contests. The Brazilian southpaw fought valiantly but Mekhontcev was just too powerful as he won each of the three rounds to win 23:11, with Falcao Florentino having to take two standing counts in the last round.
Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk looked good against Kazak southpaw Adilbek Niyazymbetov in the early stages of their Light Heavyweight (81kg) bout, bright from the onset and hitting his target with some penetrating one-two combinations to bring a point advantage going into the final round. In the third however, the 23-year-old AIBA World Championships silver medallist from Kazakhstan upped the tempo and landed the cleaner shots to go through to the final after being awarded the victory on count-back with the scores level at 13:13.
In the first of the Super Heavyweight (91+kg) contests, it was the reigning AIBA World Champion Magomedrasul Medzhidov from Azerbaijan versus the Olympic title holder from Italy Roberto Cammarelle. A couple of hard rights by the 25-year-old orthodox Azeri ensured he took the first round by two points. Cammarelle boxed really well in the second, precise and economical with his punches to come back in the second. In the third, the Italian southpaw sent his rival hurtling back but Medzhidov came back with a couple of straights in an impressive final round. The 32-year-old defending champion fast punches making the difference in the end as he claimed a 13:12 victory.
The final bout of the evening united Great Britain’s Anthony Joshua and giant Kazak Ivan Dychko. Two big rights early on set the tone as the home fighter looked to stamp his authority of the contest. He continued to use the jab against his tall opponent before throwing some good hooks, but he was caught on several occasions by some big shots from his rival as the points were shared in the first round. In the second, the 22-year-old Brit continued to find his target with that stiff jab but each time he opened up to go for the one-two he was getting caught on the counter and the two boxers were still level at the end of the round. In the third, Joshua threw a powerful right that gave the Kazak a bloody nose, and then two big left hooks ensured that the home boxer moved into the final after winning 13:11.
Saturday sees the Men’s final for the Light Fly(46-49kg), Bantam (56kg), Light Welter (64kg), Middle (75kg) and Heavyweight (91kg) categories take place in the evening. History beckons for five of the five winners.