The action continues at the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, where today’s morning session saw boxers stepping on the ring to compete in the Women’s Light (57-60kg), Women’s Welter (64-69kg), Men’s Welter (63-69kg), Men’s Light Heavy (81-91kg) and Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) events.
Top-seeded Pat McCORMACK pulled off a massive upset as he stunned BATUROV Bobo-Usmon of Uzbekistan in the first quarterfinal of the Men’s Welter (63-69kg) division. At the end of a fierce battle, McCORMACK came out on top with a 4:1 split decision. Now guaranteed at least a bronze medal, he moves a step closer to make his dream of winning the Olympic title come true.
“It was a good fight. I got the first two rounds under my belt then got cut in the last round as he was coming in with his head, throwing everything in along with the kitchen sink. But I got through it, got the win, so over the moon.” McCORMACK said. “It feels unbelievable. I’ve always dreamed about getting a medal at the Olympics. But now it’s time to change the color.”
Also, the British boxer was asked if his progression in the tournament has gone as planned:
“Yeah, I feel like I’m getting better each fight. I’m warming into the tournament, and hopefully, I will just keep getting better. Second round I felt unbelievable, was getting into my flow, hitting and moving. That’s the aim of the game, and now I can’t wait to push on in the next fight and get a place in that final.”
The Sunderland-born athlete will now have to deal with 24-year-old Aidan WALSH, from Belfast (IRL), who secured a medal for Ireland winning his quarterfinal bout against CLAIR Merven (MRI).
Later in the session, in the Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) division, Benjamin WHITTAKER (GBR) clinched a significant 3:2 split decision win over Keno MACHADO (BRA) after a very close match.
WHITTAKER, who has been guaranteed at least a bronze medal, said: “It’s a bit weird. I’ve been saying every time I’ve fought that a bronze is nothing, a silver is nothing but when you do get that feeling (of winning a medal), you can’t help it, the emotion came out of me. I was crying, bogies were flying everywhere. I was trying to keep as calm as I could, but I couldn’t help it. I’ve just got to compose myself now as Sunday is when it gets real.”
The British athlete will be joined in the semifinal by Russian Olympic Committee’s Imam KHATAEV who knocked out his Spanish opponent Gazimagomed Scham JALIDOV GAFUROVA in round 3.
Earlier in the session, the first round-of-16 bouts of the Women’s Light (57-60kg) division saw the success of the experienced boxer Kellie Anne HARRINGTON (IRL), who beat 21-year-old Italian athlete Rebecca NICOLI. Ireland’s flagbearer and seed #1 in this tournament put in place an excellent performance and is now up to the Algerian athlete Imane KHELIF who earned a unanimous decision victory against Mariem HOMRANI EP ZAYANI of Tunisia.
Speaking after her match, HARRINGTON expressed her feelings on finally getting to fight at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020:
“It feels good to get started. We left on the 30 June and now it’s the 30 July. It’s been a month away, so it’s good to get going and in a good way. Happy days. I was getting anxious; it’s been a long wait. It’s sticky and warm, so you’re not really walking around much. You’re seeing your apartment and the food hall. I feel like I’m living in the food hall and for a boxer to say they feel like they’re living in the food hall is something else. This is a great journey, but this is not the destination. This is just part of my journey.”
“It’s a great achievement to be competing at an Olympic Games, but if it happens, it happens. I am more than just a boxer. I am Kellie Anne Harrington. I’m a living person. I have a fantastic family and a great job at home and I’d just like to say hello to everybody at St Vincent’s Hospital. That’s who I am, this is just a part of the journey I’m on in life. It’s not the destination.”
Later into the session, the 2018 Youth Olympic Games Champ Caroline DUBOIS (GBR) showed all her talent against Rashida ELLIS (USA), winning a tight bout with a 3:0 decision.
“It feels good. She is a talented fighter, she is special, she is experienced. She’s a world bronze medalist and I’m a nobody.” The British boxer said after her performance. “I have come up from the youths. I have won nothing and I’m here just trying to prove my worth.”
DUBOIS was asked if opponents seeing her as a ‘nobody’ is a motivation: “It feels like nobody knows me. They all look at Kellie Anne HARRINGTON (IRL) or Rashida as somebody, as special, and they look at me and say, ‘oh, she is just from the youths who only won things at youth level’. But now it’s time to prove my worth.”
“All the boxers are going to be tough and they are going to get harder as I go along, but I think I’m good enough.”
“I’ve earned my place and I’m coming for a gold medal. I don’t want a medal; I want the medal. I want it bad; I want it more than anything I’ve ever wanted in my life.”
Advancing to the next round, the young British boxer will meet Thailand’s Sudaporn SEESONDEE who claimed her second 5:0 victory of the tournament, eliminating Simranjit Kaur BAATTH of India.
In the Women’s Welter (64-69kg) class, two more bronze medals found a home. They are indeed guaranteed to top-seed Busenaz SURMENELI of Turkey (beating Anna LYSENKO of Ukraine) and to India’s Lovlina BORGOHAIN (prevailing on seed #4 4 Nien-Chin CHEN of Chinese Taipei), who both advanced to the quarterfinals. They will meet on the ring of the Kokugikan Arena on Wednesday 4 August.
Two Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) division quarterfinals closed today’s morning session. Muslim GADZHIMAGOMEDOV (ROC) and Ammar Riad ABDULJABBAR (GER) were the first to take the center of the ring. The athlete from the Russian Olympic Committee advanced with a clear 5:0 victory after a high-energy bout. Next up for him will be David NYIKA (NZL), who secured a spot into the semifinals via a brilliant performance and a unanimous decision win over Uladzislau SMIAHLIKAU (BLR).
Starting at 5:00 PM (Japan’s time), Women’s Light (57-60kg) event preliminary rounds of 16 and Women’s Welter (64-69kg), Men’s Welter (63-69kg), Men’s Light Heavy (81-91kg) and Men’s Heavy (81-91kg) division quarterfinals will light up the Kokugikan Arena.
Event schedule and results
Find the event schedule and the results here.