Action begins in Tokyo: 27 bouts contested on Day 1 of the Olympic Boxing Tournament

TOKYO, JAPAN – JULY 24: Kurt Anthony Walker of Team Ireland exchanges punches with Jose Quiles Brotons of Spain during the Men’s Feather (52-57kg) preliminary round of 32 on day one of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on July 24, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)

Twenty-seven bouts took place on day 1 of the Tokyo 2020 Boxing tournament, held at the Kokugikan Arena. Boxers competed in the Women’s Feather (54-57kg), Women’s Welter (64-69kg), Men’s Feather (52-57kg), Men’s Welter (63-69kg), Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) and Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg) weight classes. Both Women’s event made their debut in the Olympic program, today.

Women’s Feather (54-57kg) reigning world champion Nesthy PETECIO (PHI) won today’s opening bout, defeating Marcelat SAKOBI MATSHU of the Democratic Republic of Congo by unanimous decision.

Speaking right after her victory, the 29-years-old boxer from the Philippines said:

“The fight went great and I feel really happy. It is good to get the first fight out of the way. This is my first Olympics but there are mixed emotions really. I want to enjoy it but I know I need to improve.”

She will face the #1 seeded LIN Yu-Ting (TPE) in the next round, on Monday 26 July.

“I know Yu-Ting very well, we have fought before. But it’s a fight I am very excited about. I know she also will have been looking at facing me in the draw so it will be a great fight.” PETECIO commented.

Nikolina CACIC (CRO), Irma TESTA (ITA), Karriss ARTINGSTALL (GBR) and IRIE Sena (JPN) won their respective bout, advancing in the Women’s Feather (54-57kg) category.

Japan’s SENA, who beat Yamileth SOLORZANO (ESA) to move on in the brackets, said:

“Boxing is a minor sport in Japan, but it would mean so much for the sport and for me to win a gold medal. It’s hard to say it in words. But I have been training for this moment for 13 years and winning gold is what I have been dreaming about all that time.”

ARTINGSTALL (GBR), who defeated Botswana’s Keamogetse Sadie KENOSI by unanimous decision, said:

“It’s not my best performance at all, I wouldn’t even rate it over a six. I’m usually fast feet, fast hands, pinging them left, right and center, and making it hard for them to land a shot on me. It’s easier that way, you don’t come out with any bruises at the end of it, but I (have) just done what I had to do. I ground it through, did what I could do to get the win. I’ll warm up throughout the tournament, and you’ll definitely see better performances from me.”

In the Women’s Welter (64-69kg) event, Karolina KOSZEWSKA (POL) and Baison MANIKON (THA) won their respective bouts to advance in the tournament.

United States of America’s Duke RAGAN delivered a convincing performance in the Men’s Feather (52-57kg) event, beating Samuel KISTOHURRY of France in their round of 32 bout.

“It feels great. It’s obviously a dream come true,” the American boxer said. “Even when I’d turned professional, I thought my Olympics dream was over, so to be able to come back, it means a lot to me, so hopefully I get a chance to fight at gold and win gold.”

In the same weight category, Kurt Anthony WALKER of Ireland claimed victory on points over Jose QUILES BROTONS of Spain, after a difficult second round.

“I thought I had done enough. I was dominant in the first and third rounds. In the second he gave his all but then he had nothing left for the third,” the Irish boxer explained.

“I had to dig deep, but that’s a great first fight for me,” he added.

In the next round, he will have to deal with the #1 seeded Mirazizbek MIRZAKHALILOV (UZB).

“He’s got two arms and two legs like myself, so it doesn’t bother me. If you want to be the best then you have to beat the best,” WALKER said about the world champion from Uzbekistan. “I’m fighting at the Olympics which is more than I thought I’d be doing last year so I’m happy.”

Bout #12 was dominated by the Men’s Welterweight (63-69kg) boxer Merven CLAIR (MRI), who won over Wyatt SANFORD of Canada by unanimous decision.

“In Rio I was too small for the 75Kg (category) so I decided to go back to 69Kg, and I feel a lot better, I feel great now.” Mauritius’ boxer said. Five years ago, while competing in Rio de Janeiro, he had lost his very first bout into the tournament.

“Right now, I am ranked seventh in the world and #1 in Africa,” he added. “Even though I have not boxed for more than one year as my country was locked down, I’m satisfied with the performance.”

“I know there are things I need to correct before my next fight. But I’ve a great coach and he pressures us a lot to get better. I dedicate this, my first victory at an Olympic Games, to my coach.”

“Now I can focus on my next fight. I want to get to the semi-finals as I really want a medal to take back home to my family.”

In the following bout, the last of today’s Session 1, Algeria’s Abdelhafid BENCHABLA outscored Uzbekistan’s Sanjar TURSUNOV in the only Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) bout being held today.

In the last fight of the day, it was Azerbaijan’s Mahammad ABDULLAYEV who made it through the Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg) event round of 32, by winning on points against Bahrain’s Danis LATYPOV.

The action will continue tomorrow with two sessions and 29 more preliminaries bouts in three weight categories: Women’s Fly (48-51kg), Men’s Light (57-63kg) and Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg).

Updated Draw Sheets

Women’s Feather (54-57kg)

Women’s Welter (64-69kg)

Men’s Feather (52-57kg)

Men’s Welter (63-69kg)

Men’s Heavy (81-91kg)

Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg)

Event schedule and results

Find the event schedule and the results here.  

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