On Sunday, August 14, the 19-year-old bantamweight Shakur Stevenson from the U.S. defeated Robenilson De Jesus of Brazil in the Round of 16 after earning a bye in the Round of 32. On Tuesday, August 16th, Stevenson will be facing fellow 19-year-old, 5’4” Tsenbaatar Erdenebat of Mongolia in the quarterfinals. Whichever boxer emerges goes on to fight in the semi-finals on Thursday and then the winners on that day will fight Saturday, August 20 for the Gold Medal.
In earlier competition, 20-year-old light flyweight Nico Miguel Hernandez from the US was defeated on Friday, August 12, in the semi-finals (3-0) by the eventual Gold Medal winner 23-year-old Hasanboy Dusmatov of Uzbekistan who defeated Yurberjen Herney Martinez of Columbia 3-0 in the finals.
Representing the U.S. in the men’s flyweight competition it was 19-year-old Antonio Vargas who managed to defeat 34-year-old Juliao Neto from Brazil 2-0 on August 13 but then failed to get passed Shakhobidin Zoirov of Uzbekistan on Monday, August 15 losing 3-0 in the round of sixteen.
Representing the U.S. in the men’s Lightweight competition had been the responsibility of Carlos Zenon Balderas Jr. of Santa Maria, Calif. Balderas did win in the round of 32 by defeating Berik Abdrakhman from Kazakhstan and then he knocked off Daisuke Narimatsu of Japan in the round of 16 but he was then defeated by Lazaro Jorge Alvarez of Cuba in the quarterfinals on Friday, August 12. Alvarez ended up being defeated 3-0 by Robson Conceicao of Brazil in the semi-finals and as it turns out Mr. Conceicao will now be battling Sofiane Oumiha of France in the finals for the Gold Medal.
So, who is Sofiane Oumiha? The 21-year-old Oumiha is the same boxer who defeated 19-year-old Teofimo Andres Lopez Rivera from Florida, USA who was representing Honduras, his parents native country. Lopez had switched allegiances after not getting his opportunity to fight for the U.S. team even though as an American citizen he had defeated all comers in the U.S. Olympic Boxing Trials in Reno, Nevada. How did that happen? The dastardly International Boxing Association (AIBA) stepped in and designated Carlos Banderos as the U.S. representative by virtue of his performance in their money making WSB (World Series of Boxing) shows. That maneuver angered six additional USA Amateur boxers who in the end turned professional.
It may turn out that all of the controversy, all of the haranguing in the USA Boxing ranks will be for naught. However, after looking over the 2016 Rio Boxing tournament match-ups, you’d have to agree, the Frenchman, Sofiane Oumiha, has had the softer of the two schedules of the boxers in the finals. That would make him a decided underdog to the more accomplished Robson Conceicao of the host country Brazil. You can be certain a great many boxing fans will be interested in seeing how this plays out and if Mr. Oumiha can handle someone like Conceicao.
In the men’s light welterweight class, you have 20-year-old Gary Russell of the U. S. who defeated Richardson Hitchins of Haiti 3-0 on Wednesday, August 10 and then Wuttichai Masuk of Thailand 2-1 on Sunday, August 14.
On Tuesday, August 16, the quarterfinals will take place and the young Mr. Russell will then be facing the tough 25-year-old Fazliddin Gaibnazarov of Uzbekistan. The semi-finals will follow on Friday, August 19 and then you have the finals on Sunday, August 21.
No one from the United States qualified in the welterweight class. In the middleweight class, you had 18-year-old Charles Albert Shone Conwell representing the U. S. In his first match he went down to defeat 3-0 to 24-year-old Krishan Vikas from India. The U.S. had no one qualify to compete in the light heavyweight, heavyweight or super heavyweight divisions.
In the women’s portion of Olympic Boxing, the U.S. Women’s Boxing Team had qualifiers in two of the three weight classes. In the women’s lightweight division, it was 26-year-old Mikaela Joslin Mayer who defeated 30-year-old Jennifer Chieng of Micronesia 3-0 in the round of sixteen, Friday, August 12 but then lost to the 23-year-old Anastasiia BeliaKova of Russia in the quarterfinals on Monday, August 15.
In the women’s middleweight class, eight ladies will be competing on Wednesday, August 17 with the defending Olympic champion 21-year-old Claressa Maria Shields of the U.S. facing 23-year-old Iaroslava Iakushina from the Russian Federation who just got done defeating Taipei’s 19-year-old Nien-Chin Chen on Sunday, August 14. Not to sound downhearted or pessimistic but out of the eight USA Boxing Team members that we started with, we are now down to just three remaining competitors.