It’s day 5 at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Boxing Tournament. The Kokugikan Arena’s ring will be the stage of twenty-six bouts through the morning and evening session, with action taking place in the Women’s Feather (54-57kg), Women’s Middle (69-75kg), Men’s Feather (52-57kg) and Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) weight classes.
Today’s morning session kicked off with the Women’s Feather (54-57kg) event quarterfinals. The first to stop on the ring were Philippine’s Nesthy PETECIO and Yeni Marcela ARIAS CASTANEDA (COL). The Pilipino boxer showed great balance in a tense contest to triumph by unanimous decision, advancing to the semifinal and therefore being granted a medal.
PETECIO will hand the Philippines its sixth Olympic boxing medal, its first in a women’s event, and its first since 1996.
“I am so happy for this moment,” PETECIO said right after the bout. “This is my first Olympics and I have won my first medal. I don’t really know how I feel right now. This tournament is proving so special to me; I am just so blessed.”
She will next meet Italy’s Irma TESTA, who won her quarterfinal match against Canada’s Caroline VEIREK by 5:0 points, through a great performance. Also, TESTA is now granted at least a Bronze, as she moves on to the semifinal bout against PETECIO, to take place on Saturday 31 July.
“I am guaranteed a medal which makes me so happy,” TESTA said. “This is going to be the first Italian medal (by a woman) in the history of Olympic boxing. I have worked so hard to achieve this dream. I know what effort I have put into it.”
“But now I want to focus on my next fight as I know she will be a very strong opponent. At the semifinal of an Olympic Games, you know your opponent will be at a very strong level.”
“My goal always was to try and get a medal, but to me, the most important thing, more than the medal, was to have a good performance.”
“I am going up against PETECHIO, who is the world champion, so I know she will be very tough. But when you reach this far in the competition then everyone is a candidate to win.”
In Women’s Middle (69-75kg) category, top-seeded Lauren PRICE from Sheffield (GBR) moved on to the quarterfinals by defeating Myagmarjargal MUNKHBAT of Mongolia in the round of 16. Her next opponent emerged from bout #117, as two-time Olympian Atheyna BYLON (PAN) beat Australia’s Caitlin PARKER.
Later into the session, Tammara THIBEAULT (CAN) convinced the judges, claiming a 4:1 victory over 20-year-old Nadezhda RYABETS. The 2019 World Championship bronze medalist will now face the 2016 Olympic silver medalist Nouchka FONTIJN of the Netherlands, who bested Poland’s Elzbieta WOJCIK in bout #119.
In the Men’s Feather (52-57kg) round of 16, Kurt Anthony WALKER (IRL) outscored the #1 seed Mirazizbek MIRZAKHALILOV (UZB) at the end of a great match.
“I’m over the moon,” said the 26-year-old Irish athlete, commenting on his big win over the top seed. “I really can’t explain it, but I worked on it and I knew it was going to happen. I believed. I knew. I’m not surprised.”
“It’s just brilliant. I never would have thought it before I came, it’s a fairytale. But there is still more work for me to do. I need to recover, go back and get more tactics and hopefully get a medal.”
Next up for WALKER will be United States of America’s Duke RAGAN who dominated the bout against Serik TEMIRZHANOV (KAZ) and impressed all five judges in the last, decisive round.
In bout #122 the young Samuel TAKYI (GHA) stole the show in Men’s Feather (52-57kg) division. The 20-year-old from Ghana – who had qualified through the Boxing Road to Tokyo African qualifier in Dakar (SEN), secured a 5:0 on points victory over Jean Carlos CAICEDO PACHITO (ECU). As he advances in the brackets, he will meet Ceiber David AVILA SEGURA of Colombia, who earned a split decision win over Everisto MULENGA of Zambia.
In Men’s Light-Heavy (75-81kg) class Imam KHATAEV (ROC) moved a step forward to reach the quarterfinals after toppling the top seed and 2019 World Champ Bekzad NURDAULETOV of Kazakhstan.
The following round of 16 bout of the weight category saw Gazimagomed Scham JALIDOV GAFUROVA (ESP) prevailing over Paulo AOKUSO (AUS). The Australian boxer tried his best to attack the Spanish in the final round, but JALIDOV GAFUROVA showed off his defensive skills, protecting his advantage.
Today wasn’t a good one for Daxiang CHEN (CHN) as he was beaten from the Brazilian Keno MACHADO in his last-16 Men’s Light-Heavy (75-81kg) bout. The referee stops the contest 1:41 into the second round. MACHADO, who proceeds to the next round, will be joined by Benjamin WHITTAKER (GBR) who overcame his biggest hurdle so far, as he defeated the #4 seeded Abdelrahman ABDELGAWWAD of Egypt via a 5:0 unanimous decision in order to advance.
Action continues in Tokyo, with the afternoon’s session starting at 5:00 PM (Japan’s time) with thirteen additional bouts among Women’s Feather (54-57kg), Women’s Middle (69-75kg), Men’s Feather (52-57kg) and Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg).
Event schedule and results
Find the event schedule and the results here.