The semi-finals of the Rio 2016 test event offered a mouthwatering taste of what is to come at next August’s Olympic Games, with some of the world’s best boxers lighting up RioCentro’s Pavilion 4 in Barra da Tijuca.
There was plenty for the home fans to cheer as Brazil’s rising star Robson Conceição won a tight match against Britain’s Luke McCormack, setting up a final against Uzbek lightweight Hurshid Tojibaev. Fellow Brazilian Joedison Teixeira also progressed after seeing off the challenge of Thailand’s Wuttichai Masuk, and he will now face Britain’s Sam Maxwell in Sunday’s light welterweight final.
Brazil’s former AMBC American Confederation Champion Juliao Henriques Neto also rose to the occasion, defeating Morocco’s Achraf Kharroubi in their flyweight semi-final. Japan’s newly crowned National Champion Ryomei Tanaka now stands between him and the gold medal, while in the bantamweight semi, Thailand’s AIBA Worlds bronze medalist Chatchai Butdee went through by beating Japan’s 19-year-old Arashi Morisaka.
Uzbekistan’s WSB star Hasanboy Dusmatov defeated Shyam Kumar Kakara in their light flyweight semi-final and will now meet Brazil’s latest APB hope Patrick Lourenco.
“The Rio test event is very competitive but after my WSB season and main AIBA Boxing events I feel I can win the gold medal here in Brazil. It is great that our International Federation has staged this competition in Rio and to be able to acclimatise for next year’s competition,” said Dusmatov.
Doha 2015 finalist Murodjon Akhmadaliev had to be in top form to see off Carlos Andre Rocha, and Morocco’s defending AIBA World Champion Mohammed Rabii just did enough to scrape through against Mexico’s Juan Pablo Romero.
Netherlands’ EUBC silver medalist Peter Mullenberg’s stamina and spirit saw him through a tough encounter with crowd favourite Michel Borges to reach the light heavyweight final where he will face Britain’s Joshua Buatsi.
“It was a really close fight today against the young Brazilian boxer and I probably fought too much from my heart, but I knew I had to work hard to beat Borges in his home ring,” said Mullenberg after his semi-final.
Germany’s APB star Erik Pfeifer eliminated Brazilian veteran Rafael Duarte Lima in their super heavyweight semi, and he will be confident going in to a tough final against another Brit, Frazer Clarke.
In the women’s competition, India’s five-time AIBA Women’s World Champion Mary Kom couldn’t overcome a spirited Virginia Fuchs. The American now goes on to face Great Britain’s AIBA Worlds silver medalist Lisa Whiteside after she defeated Brazil’s Grazieli Jesus De Souza in Saturday’s second flyweight semi-final.
Chantelle Cameron was too strong for another home favourite, three-time AMBC American Confederation Women’s Champion Taynna Cardoso, and will meet French rival Estelle Mossely in the lightweight final. Brazil’s Flavia Figueiredo found success against Australia’s 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medalist Caitlin Parker, however, and she faces Khadija Mardi in Sunday’s hotly anticipated middleweight gold-medal match.