It was an intense and packed day at the Dakar Arena, with 80 athletes competing for semi-final spots – all with the goal of securing those dream quota places for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The Women’s Fly boxers were the first to jump into the ring; and it was no surprise that the number-one seed and current African champion, Roumaysa BOUALAM (ALG), eased into the semi-finals with a 5-0 defeat of Lethabo MODUKANELE (BOT).
It was a heart-breaking loss for the home girl Khadidja TIMERA – growing up in Paris but fighting for Senegal, she told the Olympic Channel recently that it was her dream to win gold for her country in Tokyo. That dream came to an end after she lost 3-2 in a split decision to the Ugandan, Catherine NANZIRI. But perhaps Timera can set her sights instead on 2024 and win an Olympic medal in the city where she grew up. What a story that would be. In Ring B, Kenya’s Christine ONGARE went through to the semis after beating DR Congo’s Modestine ZALIA.
In the Men’s Light category, it was another win for Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jonas of Namibia, who defeated the Ghanaian, Abdul Wahid OMAR. In the Men’s Fly, another Namibian, Thomas Nestor MEKONDJ, did not enjoy the same success as Jonas – he was well beaten by the three-time All-Africa Games medallist, Mohamed FLISSI – with the Algerian firmly on course to compete in his third consecutive Olympic Games.
It was a tough encounter for Ezzerrifi ANAS (MAR) who lost to the number-one seed in the Men’s Middle category, Kavuma David SSEMUJJU (UGA). In the same weight category, 2015 African champion Wilfred NTSENGUE (CMR) beat Raul MANGUE (GEQ) 5-0, meaning the Cameroonian still has a fighting chance of competing in his second Olympic Games at the age of just 22.
Algeria’s Younes NEMOUCHI won an incredible Men’s Middle bout against Jean Luc ROSALBA of Mauritius, the North African winning the fight in round three with an RSC (Referee Stops Contest) decision. There was yet more success for Algeria in the evening session and a big surprise too, as Women’s Light boxer Imane KHELIF earned her spot in the semis by beating the number-one seed, Aratwa KASEMANG (BOT).
In the Men’s Heavy, it was another Algerian superstar –Abdelhafid BENCHABLA – who prevailed in what was his first fight of the qualifiers, at the expense of Ibrahima Sory BARRY (GUI). The 33-year-old is the current All-Africa champion, and if he qualifies in Dakar in the next week, Tokyo will be his fourth Olympic Games. A much younger fighter but also with Olympic boxing experience – namely a bronze medal from the Youth Olympic Games in 2018 – Youssef Ali MOUSSA (EGY) showed the crowd no mercy in defeating Karamba KEBE in his home country.
Tomorrow will see nine categories in the ring. As well as Women’s Fly (51kg), the men will compete in Fly (52kg), Light (63kg), Middle (75kg), Heavy (91kg), Feather (57kg), Welter (69kg), Light Heavy (81kg) and Super Heavy (+91kg). The excitement is growing as we edge closer to the semi-finals and the possibility to win those coveted quota places for Tokyo 2020.
You can find all the other results from day 6 here.
Follow the event live
The event will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel. In addition to live streaming with commentary in English and French, highlights and news, the Olympic Channel will present a live studio show prior to the quarter-final, semi-final and final matches of each event.
News, photos and results will be posted online on the Athlete365 Boxing Corner platform at boxing.athlete365.org, while fans can join the conversation online using the hashtag #Boxing.
The session schedules for each of the events can be found here.