Today at the 2013 World Championships in Almaty, the quarterfinals began. Among the highlights of the action was Clemente Russo of Italy looking in good form today as he moved through to the semifinals, along with wins from big wins such as Andrew Selby and Domenico Valentino.
Bouts of the session
Everton Lopes of Brazil was impressive again at Light Welterweight against Evaldas Petrauskas of Lithuania. The Brazilian World Champion was taking on the Lithuanian hammer, whose right hand was developing something of a reputation around here coming into this bout. The variety of Lopes’ techniques and his range of movement however caused Petrauskas problems throughout the first and the second rounds.
He found it hard to close the gap on his taller and more mobile Brazilian opponent. Like in his last outing, the Brazilian seemed to relax more in the final round and boxed with his hands down a lot of the time. If you stop to think about it, doing this with an opponent with one punch knockout potential, is either an indication of extreme confidence in your ability, or…something else. Nonetheless it was Lopes who advanced following a split decision.
“It was a difficult fight”, said the Brazilian. “He is an Olympic level opponent so I am pleased I got the win. My tactics were to push him as hard as I could physically, and to hit him as hard as possible”.
Flyweight Andrew Selby of Wales took on Llyas Suleimenov of Kazakhstan in the opening bout of the night. The Welsh boxer was light on his toes against the Kazakh though Suleimenov looked to be the more aggressive of the two. Selby got caught once or twice and was briefly cornered towards the end of the first round, without offering much in the way of reply, but when out in the open ground in the centre of the ring, he was able to mix it well. The Welshman had to trade punches more in the second round but the Kazak boxer looked very strong.
Still Selby looked better in the exchanges in this round. The Kazakh boxer looked very sharp coming up to the end of round two and landed some heavy combinations. Round three was tightly contested as well and by the end of it, it was the Kazakh who was dancing away from Selby with the Welshman the aggressor. At the end of an exceptionally close fought bout, Selby scraped through a tough match, much to the crowd’s chagrin.
“The crowd put me off a bit but I have to get used to that”, said Selby. “I would have liked to have beaten him more clearly but I’m happy to take the win anyways”.
Boxers of the session
Heavyweight Clemente Russo took to the ring again against Marko Calic of Croatia. The APB boxer looked far more focused than he has in the previous rounds of the competition, and showed serious respect to his opponent. The Croatian had the reach and height advantage and used it to work his jab, while Russo worked the body with his left, and looked for chances to throw the overhand right.
Clemente looked the busier of the two throughout round one and two, and began to drop his hands as the bout wore on and his confidence picked up. He got clipped once or twice for this in the third, but he remained happy enough with the strategy to persist with it. He took a comfortable looking win (3:0), though it would be surprising if we get to use that phrase again in this Championships any time soon.
“This was a tough fight”, said the Italian, who also boxes for the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder WSB Franchise. “My opponent today was very good, very fast. But what I have on my side is the experience, I’m 31 now. So things have been ok so far, but the tournament really starts on Friday”.
Heavyweight Yamil Peralta of the Argentina Condors took on young Irish boxer Thomas McCarthy in the last bout of the session. The Irishman landed a big overhand right at the end of the first in what was possibly the most important phase of the round. From round two, the WSB boxer’s experience began to show against the Irish debutant. It was a solid performance by Peralta, who hasn’t received much coverage so far on his way to the semi-finals, but who has been very consistent nonetheless. But the future looks bright for Ireland with Peralta admitting: “He was strong so I tried to stay away from him and not let him hit me”.
Elsewhere, an overjoyed Mohamed Flissi of the Algeria Desert Hawks guaranteed his country a medal by defeating Brazil’s Patrick Lourenco at Light Flyweight. The Algerian has been great throughout this tournament and looked good enough today to take the split decision, much to the delight of the singing Algerian fans, who would have won most musical supporters of the session, were that a category.
Magomed Omarov of Russia went head to head with Magomedrasul Medzhidov of Azerbaijan at Super Heavyweight. The two APB boxers moved well for such big men. They landed some heavy shots on each other in round one, but this was really just part of the feeling out process. Round two was really where the serious business began. The round opened at quite a pace with the pair battering away at each other like besiegers trying to ram their way into an enemy fortress. Predominantly working up close with hooks and overhands, the pair eventually moved through the entire boxing repertoire of techniques. Eventually though after three bruising rounds, it was the smaller Azeri boxer who came away with the victory (3:0).
Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder Season III Lightweight Domenico Valentino fought the southpaw Elvin Isayev from Azerbaijan. The first round was very close and neither boxer took the bench in the break, preferring to stand. Both sets of coaches were franticly giving instructions in the corner in their bid to break the deadlock. The Azeri came out fast and went on the offensive, but the Italian was skilful in his counter attacks, the bout remained tight until 50 seconds remaining of the second when the Azeri scored a knockdown. In the final round, the Italian upped the tempo and went on the front foot to chase his rival down and break through to the semi-finals with a 3:0 win.
Ones to watch
Jason Quigley of Ireland seemed to go up a gear today when he out-boxed Zoltan Harcsa of Hungary. Looking extremely fast on his feet for a Middleweight, the Irishman really came alive today. “I was very happy with my performance, I really upped my game today”.
Brazilian Robson Conceicao was awesome in his bout against Vikash Malik representing AIBA/India at Lightweight. The Indian boxer was given a standing eight count in the first round following a lovely short uppercut, which the Brazilian was throwing liberally throughout the round. The Indian began a fight back late in the second but you felt that this was because the Brazilian was allowing it to happen and biding his time. This proved to be the case with another standing eight issued to Malik shortly after, following a series of blows to the body.
The by now almost traditional standing eight was repeated in round three as the Brazilian really worked the Indian’s body, to the point that the latter did well to remain upright. In the end it was a comfortable win for the Brazilian and he will be fairly fresh going into the semi-finals. “This was a really hard fight, he was very strong and I had to be very technical to make it through”, said Conceicao. “Fortunately I was well prepared for this. My tactics were to throw a lot of shots and work up close and thanks to god, this paid off.
Quotes of the session
Journalist: “What do you have to do now to prepare for your next bout?”
Yamil Peralta (Argentina): “Well, the first thing I have to do is… have a siesta”.
“I know the crowd weren’t happy I beat their fighter, but in the end it’s not up to the crowd, it’s up to the judges” – Andrew Selby (Wales)
Surprise of the session
The days for “upsets” is long gone in this World Championships, as to have got to the quarter-finals, you need to have shown some consistency and merited your place. Nevertheless Venezuelan Welterweight Gabriel Maestre’s victory over Russia’s Alexander Besputin certainly counts as one of the most unanticipated results of the evening. Although the Venezuelan came into this event as the number three seed, Besputin’s performances so far had been extremely impressive, if not to say slightly frightening.
Thus the Venezuelan jolted the arena into life when he knocked the Russian down one minute into the second and served up a standing eight count around 20 seconds later. The Russian was tough (as they invariably are), and recovered well to finish the round surprisingly strong. He came out like a daemon in round three, trying to make up the lost ground and was doing well until caught heavily again by the Latin American boxer with 3 seconds left in the round. Thus Maestre took the win.
“The fight was really hard. My coach told me it would be tough yesterday, but he said he had confidence in me. I’m just really pleased I made it through”.
Fact/Stat of the session
Costa Rica secured its first ever medal at an Elite AIBA World Boxing Championships through David Rodriguez when he beat Korea’s Inkyu Kim in today’s Light Flyweight quarterfinal.
Tomorrow is rest day at the 2013 AIBA World championships, with no fights scheduled.