The Boxing Road to Tokyo Asian/Oceanian qualifying event, which sees 221 athletes (151 men and 70 women) from 35 countries competing for 63 Olympic quota places in 13 weight categories (eight men’s and five women’s events) at the Prince Hamzah Hall in Amman, continued on Saturday with 24 preliminary bouts, in the women’s fly (48-51kg) and in the men’s fly (48-52kg) and featherweight (52-57kg) categories.
India’s national idol Mary Kom HMANGTE stole the show in the women’s fly (48-51kg) division, as she beat New Zealand’s Tasmyn BENNY. “I have a lot of experience. Sometimes I understand the situation in the ring really easily,” she said. “Sometimes I am in trouble a bit, and that’s when experience kicks in and helps me a lot. Today, I used my experience.”
Mary Kom, the only woman ever to have won six world championship titles, and the only boxer to have won eight world championship medals, is seeking a Tokyo 2020 qualification place. Advancing to the quarter-finals, she moved one step closer to reaching her goal. “I’ve won all sorts of medals throughout the last 20 years. There’s only one I am missing: the Olympic gold,” she commented. After winning bronze in 2012, she failed to qualify for Rio. “Maybe this is my last chance,” she said. “I am really going for it; I hope with all my heart that I will grab it. This a great competition, and the quality of judges and referees is better than ever before. I am really happy and confident.”
In the same weight category, top seed HUANG Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei beat Australia’s Kristy HARRIS; and Japan’s NAMIKI Tsukimi, a 2018 world championship bronze medallist who is competing here in Amman as the tournament’s no.4 seed, defeated Mongolia’s Altantsetseg LUTSAIKHAN. Both victories were awarded by unanimous decision.
Men’s fly (48-52kg)
In the men’s flyweight division, world number one and top seed AMIT of India clinched a split decision victory against Mongolia’s Enkhmandakh KHARKHUU. Amit started with two great rounds before suffering in the last portion of the match, but was able to defend his lead and advance to the quarter finals. “In the past, I have lost to him, so I was a bit nervous. It has been a very tense bout,” Amit said. “My game is to play counter, and he knows that as we have met several times before. But I studied a good strategy with my coach, and that helped me a lot. I am now looking forward to the next bout.”
Later in the afternoon, in the same weight category, Thailand’s Thitisan PANMOT turned the tables in a tense match, beating the Republic of Korea’s KIM Inkyu – the no.3 seed here in Amman – and advancing to the quarter-finals. “It has been a very difficult bout for me, because Kim is taller than I am,” Panmot said. The youth world champion is competing in his first Olympic qualifier here in Amman. “I did not give my best today; I was on 70 per cent. Let’s say I saved some energy for the next phase of the competition.” There, he will meet Australia’s Alex WINWOOD. “I know him very well,” Panmot said. “We have been at a training camp in Thailand together. I will peak at 100 per cent for that bout, because I really want to qualify for the Games.”
Men’s feather (52-57kg)
India also took centre stage in the men’s feather category, as Gaurav SOLANKI produced an excellent performance, claiming victory against the top seed in Amman, Mirazizbek MIRZAKHALILOV of Uzbekistan, by decision.
Quarter-finals: the gateway for Tokyo 2020 quota places
The Amman qualifier now moves on to the quarter-finals phase. On 8 March, 24 quarter-final bouts will be contested in the women’s welter (64-69kg) and middleweight (65-69kg) divisions; and in the men’s welter (63-69kg), middle (69-75kg), light heavy (75-81kg), heavy (81-91kg) and super heavyweight (+91kg) categories. The semi-finals will ultimately be the getaway to an Olympic qualification spot for Tokyo 2020, as the top four or top five athletes (depending on their weight category) will be awarded a quota place (find the qualification system here).
Follow the action live
Fans can watch the action live on the Olympic Channel, with all the women’s and men’s bouts across all weight categories available with commentary in English, Russian and Hindi, beginning on 3 March at 11 a.m. EET (local time). Coverage is available in all territories worldwide for free at olympicchannel.com and on its apps for mobile and connected TV devices.
News, photos and results will be posted online on the dedicated Amman qualifier page of the Athlete365 Boxing Corner platform. We encourage fans to join the conversation online using the hashtag #Boxing.