London, Great Britain, 31 July 2012 - The action continued with the evening session on the third day of boxing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. A capacity crowd at the ExCeL Arena welcomed the Flyweight (52kg) and Light Heavyweights (81kg) for ten bouts of high-octane drama.
2011 World Series of Boxing (WSB) Individual Championships finalist with Paris United, 25-year-old Nordine Oubaali of France began his assault on the Flyweight (52kg) title in style. The experienced recent AIBA European Olympic Qualifying Event winner came out of the blocks at double speed, firing all kind of shots in direction of the relatively unknown Ajmal Faisal of Afghanistan. Pummelling his rival throughout the three rounds, Oubaali was just unstoppable as he outclassed the three-time Afghan National Champion to win 22:9. The Frenchman faces USA Boxing Team Captain Raushee Warren, the third seed in the draw and a veteran of three Olympic Games.
When interviewed, Oubaali stated, "I had a fantastic preparation for these Games but unfortunately fell ill as soon as I landed here in London. As a result, I felt seriously weakened. I am happy that I managed to overcome this and box well against an opponent that I did not know". On facing Warren next, the Frenchman declared, "I know him well; he is a very talented fighter, very quick. He has never been a World Champion or an Olympic Champion so he is not unbeatable. I have the same chances of winning than he has. It will obviously be tough and if I recover from my illness in time, I can assure you that our battle will be an even one".
The diminutive Ghanaian Duke Micah and Jason Lavigilante of Mauritius, who were both at the AIBA Road to London II three-week training camp in the build-up to these Olympics, battled each other for the right to face the big Irish medal contender Michael Conlan in the next phase of the preliminaries. It was the orthodox Micah who looked the most assured, alternating cleverly between the head and the body with some swift one-two combinations to claim the first two rounds against his taller rival. In the third, the Ghanaian began to showboat but still the 20-year-old dominated the round to record a 18:14 victory and progress.
Micah was happy with his performance, declaring, "I felt good out there. Our President died last week so I am fighting for my country and for boxing in Ghana". On facing Conlan, he said, "I don’t know him, I was only focused on the first bout but now I will study his fights. I know I have to raise my level so that is what I will do, you will see a stronger me in the next fight". When asked about his preparations for the Games, he added, "Road to London in Cardiff was a great experience for me and it is one of the reasons I won today".
A veteran of three AIBA World Boxing Championships, Thailand’s 27-year-old Chatchai Butdee came into his fight against Eker Selcuk of Turkey as the overwhelming favourite. The Thai southpaw’s speed and agility were just too much for the young Selcuk who could just not deal with the ferocity of his attacks. Selcuk, 20, who fought for the Istanbul Bosphorus WSB Franchise last season, had no response to the repertoire of shots being thrown at him, uppercuts, up to four punch combinations, it was a master class by the Thai who went on to triumph emphatically 24:10. No one will want to face Butdee after that sensational performance.
Cuba have one of the finest production lines of top class boxers in the world and their history speaks for itself, standing second only to the USA for boxing gold medals at the Olympic Games. 18-year-old Panamerican Games winner southpaw Robeisy Ramirez Carrazanashowed his pedigree against the experienced Japanese Katsuaki Susa. Quick, agile, excellent footwork and precision punching, the southpaw really has it all. Ramirez Carrazana absolutely dictated proceeding in all three rounds against Kusa and eased to a comprehensive 19:7 win. Everyone will now be relishing the prospect of seeing the Cuban in action against Thailand’s Butdee.
The crowd next enjoyed the confrontation between the tall Swede Salomo Ntuve and Kazakhstan’s orthodox 21-year-old pocket-dynamo Ilyas Suleimenov in the last of the evening’s Flyweight (52kg) bouts. With vociferous support in the arena, the Kazak started on the front foot, speedily moving inside to work Ntuve’s body. With such a contrast in the athletes, it was a messy affair that Suleimenov came out on top in, winning 13:8.
The rising star from Azerbaijan Vatan Huseynli has really made a name for himself this year, qualifying for these Games after coming second at the AIBA European Olympic Qualifying Event Trabzon 2012 and also testing himself in the tough WSB with the Baku Fires. In the first Light Heavyweight (81kg) bout of the evening session, he faced the experienced 2008 Beijing Olympian Carlos Gongora Mercado of Ecuador, who also competed in the first WSB season with the American Los Angeles Matadors Franchise. Gongora took the early initiative, moving around Huseynli and hurting him with some good hooks in the first before repeating that tactic in the second to lead by three points with three minutes to go. Huseynli came back in the third with a couple of devastating straight rights that connected flush on Gongora’s jaw, one of which the Ecuadorian southpaw had to take a standing eight count for. In the end, it was the 23-year-old Gongora who progressed with a 9:8 victory; he will now face Kazak fourth seed Adilbek Niyazymbetov.