Day 9, afternoon session: Cuban boxers pocket three medals. Japan proud of NAMIKI’s success

TOKYO, JAPAN – AUGUST 01: Arlen Lopez (red) of Team Cuba exchanges punches with Loren Berto Alfonso Dominguez of Team Azerbaijan during the Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) semi final on day nine of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kokugikan Arena on August 01, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

It was a fascinating Day 9’s afternoon session, at the Kokugikan Arena. The Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament saw the Women’s Fly (48-51kg), Men’s Feather (52-57kg), Men’s Middle (69-75kg), Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg) quarterfinals and Men’s Welter (63-69kg) and Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg) semifinals.

Cuban boxers definitively stole the show today, by securing three medals to their home country. In the first semifinal of the Men’s Welter (63-69kg) class, Roniel IGLESIAS claimed a unanimous verdict over Andrei ZAMKOVOI (ROC) to book a spot in the final and try to conquer the coveted gold medal. Also his teammate Arlen LOPEZ can keep on chasing the Olympic gold, as he defeated Loren Berto ALFONSO DOMINGUEZ (AZE) in their Light Heavy (75-81kg) semifinal bout, moving one step closer to the highest step of the podium.

“He’s a good boxer because he’s a European champion and we are both boxing at a very high level, so I think it is normal that when you are boxing at such a high level that you can stand a lot of punches,” LOPEZ said about his opponent. “He’s actually one of my countrymen (ALFONSO DOMINGUEZ was indeed born in Cuba) so now he’s competing for another country but he’s also one of us.”

The Cuban boxer, who will fight next in the gold medal match, added: “I think for every athlete in every sport here it is very important to compete for the gold medal. It was a very difficult tournament because we had the pandemic and I was training hard. I’m very happy that I get the chance to compete for the gold medal a second time (he was  middleweight gold medalist at the Olympic Games Rio 2016) and that is very special to me.”

In the Men’s Feather (52-57kg) class, another Cuban ace, Lazaro ALVAREZ overscored Chatchai-Decha BUTDEE (THA) via a 3:2 split decision victory after a very close match.

Later in the session, Dainier PERO delivered the first disappointment to team Cuba, as he was beaten 4:1 by United States of America’s Richard TORREZ JR in their quarterfinal Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg) bout.

Speaking after his performance, TORREZ said: “It’s great but we’re not here for a medal, we’re here for a gold, and that’s my goal. I can’t wait to get off the phone with my dad, tell him what we did.”

“Yes, I’m happy. I know I can go back, and I can almost hang my hat off this but that’s not what I’m here to do. I’ve been a medalist before and medals are great, but I’m not here to be a medalist, I’m here to be a gold medalist. That’s my goal. That’s my ambition.”

TORREZ JR will now have to deal with Kamshybek KUNKABAYEV (KAZ) who was guaranteed a spot in the semifinal after winning today’s match against Ivan VERIASOV (ROC).

This afternoon, the Kokugikan Arena also saw a brilliant success of the home hero NAMIKI Tsukimi of Japan who advances in the semifinal of the Women’s Fly (48-51kg) division owing to a clear 5:0 victory over Ingrit Lorena VALENCIA VICTORIA of Colombia. In the next round, scheduled for August 4, NAMIKI will meet Bulgaria’s Stoyka Zhelyazkova KRASTEVA who prevailed over People’s Republic of China Yuan CHANG by a 4:1 win.

It was a good day also for Russian Olympic Committee’s Albert BATYRGAZIEV who beat Tsendbaatar ERDENEBAT (MLG) in his Men’s Feather (52-57kg) quarterfinal match and now will meet Lazaro ALVAREZ (CUB) in the second semifinal of the division.

Later in the session, two more medalists emerged in the Men’s Middle (69-75kg) quarterfinals. Brazilian boxer Hebert SOUSA, at the end of a fierce battle, came out on top with a close-call 3:2 split decision over Kazakhstan’s Abilkhan AMANKUL. In the semifinal, SOUSA will face BAKSHI Gleb of the Russian Olympic Committee who defeated Darrelle VALSAINT JR with a 5:0 victory.

Tomorrow the Olympic Boxing Tournament will take a break: no bouts will be contested. The action at the Kokugikan Arena will resume on Tuesday 3 August with eighteen additional bouts.

Event schedule and results

Find the event schedule and the results here.  

Updated Draw Sheets

Women’s Fly (48-51kg)

Men’s Feather (52-57kg)

Men’s Welter (63-69kg)

Men’s Middle (69-75kg)

Men’s Light Heavy (75-81kg)

Men’s Super Heavy (+91kg)

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