Rio Olympics 2016: Boxing Preview

By Cain Bradley on August 6, 2016
Rio Olympics 2016: Boxing Preview
The strong favourite has to be the man described as the Azerbaijani George Foreman.

The Rio Olympics will be the first after the introduction of the World Series Boxing and AIBA Pro Boxing…

Men’s Light Flyweight (-49kg)
This Olympics will be the first after the introduction of the World Series Boxing and AIBA Pro Boxing. How will the fighters succeeding in that, transfer back to the Olympic amateur tournament? The two APB boxers to have qualified are Lu Bin and Birzhan Zhakipov. Lu Bin is the champion and beat Zhakipov who was the 2013 World Champion. He has also competed at the last two Olympic Games but lost to the winner Zou Shiming at both. Paddy Barnes won the bronze medal at both those Olympic Games and qualified through the World Series of Boxing going 7-0 in 2015. The current World Champion and number one seed is Joahnys Argilagos, the young Cuban at 19 who is getting better and better. He has an overall WSB record of 9-3 but was unbeaten this season. Among those to have beaten him is Hasanbot Dusmatov who has won 11 WSB bouts and at the Rio test event. He beat Patrick Lourenco in the final while Galal Yafai could only qualify in third. The runner-up at the World Championships was Vasilii Egorov who has gone 4-1 with the WSB. Rogen Ladon won a bronze after knocking out the number one seed and is highly thought of. Gankhuyagiin Gan-Erdene and the young Azerbaijani Rufat Huseynov are both ranked in the top ten. Nico Hernandez, Simplice Fotsala, Yurbejen Martinez and Artur Hovhannisyan are also contenders.

Another sport that is impossible to call without seeing the draw. The old adage is styles make fights and it is true that anyone could beat anyone. Paddy Barnes is relentless and powerful and has to be given a big chance. It will be interesting to see how Bin and Zhakipov translate back to three rounds, Zhakipov has the better pedigree. Argilagos is an incredible boxer who just keeps on improving and is probably the main challenger to Paddy Barnes. Dusmatov is another who over the last 18 months has looked really impressive while Rufat Huseynov is also improving. I believe these five are the main contenders for the semi finals and that Dusmatov is most likely to miss out. I think Argilagos will reach the final against Paddy Barnes where the Cuban causes what some would see as a minor shock.
o Joahnys Argilagos
o Paddy Barnes
o Rufat Huseynov
o Birzhan Zhakipov

Men’s Flyweight (-52kg)
One Olympic medalist from 2012 returns in Misha Aloyan. He was the bronze medal winner separating his two World Championships. He is currently the APB champion and has some brilliant wins over great boxer. The awkward southpaw may be past his best. In his Olympic campaign he defeated a young Jeyvier Cintron. The Puerto Rican went 6-1 in the WSB defeating Sattibayev and Mamishzada with his hooks and unorthodox movement. Elvin Mamishzada dominated the World Championships on his way to become champion last year. Olzhas Sattibayev has gone 6-2 in the WSB alternating wins and losses with quality opponents. Hamza Touba is another who one day can beat the best boxers before losing to less experienced opponents. Yosvany Veitia has won a bronze and a silver at the last two World Championships and has some of the most impressive wins around. Mohamed Flisi has also won the two medals in the opposite way. He is good at maintaining distance before using aggressive bursts. Brendan Irvine is another with some impressive wins. Hu Jingyuan is another capable of doing pretty much anything. Antonio Vargas is currently leading the WSB rankings for this season. Muhammad Ali and Daniel Asenov are possibly both more likely for the next Olympics as they have only been seniors for a short while. Juliao Neto, Achad Kharroubi, Elias Emigdio, Leonel de Los Santos, Selcuk Eker, Narek Abgaryan and Yoel Finol also have to be considered legitimate contenders.

Eighteen names were listed as possible contenders and they could all win medals. The draw is so key as so many of these boxers can and have beaten each other! The eight I like to be in the quarter finals are Cintron, Aloyan, Mamishzada, Veitia, Ali, Flissi, Sattibayev and Vargas. It really is all about match ups here and when the draw comes out it will be worth having another look.
o Jeyvier Cintron
o Elvin Mamishzada
o Yosvany Veitia
o Muhammad Ali

Men’s Bantamweight (-56kg)
The young Cuban Robeisy Ramirez was one of the youngest ever Olympic Champion when winning flyweight gold in 2012. Since then he has battled dedication issues and lost to numerous other boxers. Despite that he still has a strong WSB record of 8-0. Also with a strong WSB record is Vladimir Nikitin who is a World Championship silver medal in 2013. It was Javid Chalabiyev who beat him in that final and the awkward pressure fighter is certainly a danger. Perhaps his worst nightmare is Robinilson Jesus, the Brazilian who is a master at soaking up pressure. Michael Conlan is the only returning Olympic medalist having won a bronze at the last Olympics. He made good on his ability when winning the 2015 World Championships defeating the pressure fighter Murodjon Alhmadaliev in the final. Shiva Thapa and Dmitry Asanou were the bronze medalists.  The APB Champion is Zhang Jiawei but the southpaw may struggle. Perhaps the wildcard is Shakur Stevenson. The young American is a speedy southpaw with a controlling jab. His best wins are over supposed mid level boxers in Mohamed Hamout and Albert Melian. Keirat Yeraliyev is a huge contender having split wins with Ramirez and beat Michael Conlan on the way to the 2013 bronze medal. Chatchai Butdee, Qais Ashfaq, Mykola Butsenko and Bilel Mhamdi are also contenders.

Maybe not quite the strength of the flyweight division but some very impressive boxers. If Ramirez and Conlan avoid each other in the draw you have to imagine it will be the final. Asanou and Stevenson are the young pair of boxers who if they have improved could take the win. Stevenson has definitely shown promise but has no senior wins over the top level boxers. Nikitin and Yeraliyev are very smart boxers who everyone will want to avoid in the draw. I think it comes down to these six.
o Michael Conlan
o Robeisy Ramirez
o Keirat Yeraliyev
o Dmitry Asanou

Men’s Lightweight (-60kg)
The only weight to have more than one professional boxer. Carmine Tommasone is unbeaten in 15 while Amnat Ruenroeng is a former World Championship bronze medalist who went on to win an IBF title. He would likely be considered a strong contender but he lost to Lindolfo Delgado, a fighter who tends to lose to top amateurs. The top amateurs are Lazaro Alvarez and Albert Selimov. Alvarez is a reigning triple World Champion who won an Olympic bronze medal last time out and is 9-0 in the WSB. Selimov is one of a few men to beat Vasyl Lomachenko, when winning the 2007 World Championships. He returned to form with a 2015 bronze medal and has gone 6-0 in the WSB. Hurshid Tojibaev is the APB champion after getting a win back with Berik Abdrakhmanov, the 2013 bronze medalist. Another brawler is David Oliver Joyce who has wins over some of the other contenders. The main Brazilian hope is Robson Conceicao who has used his power and quick reactions to win medals at the last two World Championships. Carlos Balderas, Adlan Abdurashidov, Reda Benbaziz, Teofimo Lopez, Charly Suarez, Shan Jun, Otgondalai Dorjnyambuugiin and Anvar Yunusov are also possible dangers.

The two favourites have to be Alvarez and Selimov. They have split bouts recently but Alvarez is the higher quality right now for me. Home fighters tend to get at least one kind decision and Conceicao is their best hope for a medal so expect this to maybe happen again. Abdrakhmanov is the boxer I rate the highest out of the rest of the boxers but Tojibaev and Joyce are also strong contenders. If Ruenroeng was not so disappointing in losing to Delgado I would give him more respect.
o Lazaro Alvarez
o Robson Conceicao
o Albert Selimov
o Berik Abdrakhmanov

Men’s Light Welterweight (-64kg)
One of the weakest looking weight divisions in my mind, plenty of winners look possible. Artem Harutyunyan is the APB Champion who looks likely to fare the best. The two Olympic bronze medalists from 2012 also return in an effort to improve on the results. Yasniel Toledo, the Cuban southpaw, has also won medals at the last three World Championships but no gold. Evaldas Petrauskas was the other bronze medalist with over 250 bouts but he has struggled with his form lately. The current World Champion is Vitaly Dunaytsev after he beat Fazliddin Gaibnazarov in the final. Raul Curiel has a recent victory over Dunaytsev and has also split victories with Toledo. Wuttichai Masuk was the other bronze medalist and has recently split victories with Gaibnazarov. Collazo Sotomayor is the Cuban born boxer who has impressive over the last year. Gary Russell is the brother of the professional boxer with the same name and will be hoping to fare better. Arthur Biyarslanov is another who has impressed recently splitting victories with Toledo. Pat McCormack, Abdelkadar Chadi, Richardson Hitchins and Manoj Kumar are also dangers.

It is hard to call and perhaps lacks the standout boxers that some of the other weights have. Perhaps someone will emerge. I expect the quarter finalists, if they avoid each other, to be Toledo, Harutyunyan, Dunaytsev, Gaibnazarov, Masuk, Biyarslanov, Sotomayor and Curiel. The young pair are Biyarslanov and Sotomayor and possibly open to improvement. Masuk, Curiel and Dunaytsev are possibly the three more likely to lose.
o Arthur Biyarslanov
o Artem Harutyunyan
o Yasniel Toledo
o Fazliddin Gaibnazarov

Men’s Welterweight (-69kg)
Another weight with an Olympic Champion qualified. Roniel Iglesias won the World Championship in 2009 but has struggled to a recent WSB record of 5-3. Two Olympic bronze medalist also return in Andrey Zamkovoy and Vincenzo Mangiacapre. Zamkovoy has struggled in the APB despite a great ability to adapt. Vincenzo has moved up from light welterweight but is a very tough, game opponent. The champion of APB is Onur Sipal and his counterpunching is very impressive. Mohammed Rabii is the current World Champion and with an 8-0 WSB record looks like the favourite. The man he beat in the final was 2013 World Champion Daniyar Yeleussinov, 3-0 himself in the WSB. Liu Wei was the bronze medalist but has struggled to a 2-3 record in the WSB. Also winning bronze was European Games winner, Parvis Baghirov, who has gone 5-1 in WSB. In 2013, Gabriel Maestre and Arajik Marutjan were the bronze medalists. Albert Palmetta, Steven Donnelly, Byambyn Tuvshinbat, Rayton Okwiri, Josh Kelly and Eimantis Stanionis are also contenders.

Rabii and Yeleussinov are just so impressive that you have to imagine they will make the final to face eachother. Baghirov and Iglesias have the most potential and should also make the medal table. Sipal, Tuvinshbat, Kelly, Maestre and Palmetta would be my outsiders as they are all capable of beating the others.
o Daniyar Yeleussinov
o Mohammed Rabii
o Parviz Baghirov
o Roniel Iglesias

Men’s Middleweight (-75kg)
The current World Champion is the Cuban Arlen Lopez who has not lost for a couple of years. He is tall and strong with a great jab and a WSB record of 7-2. From 2013 the World Champion was Zhanibek Alimkhanuly. He is brilliant at mid range and unbeaten in the WSB. Perhaps the most intriguing name is Bektemir Melikuziev. He was the silver medalist in 2015 and has been described as a mini GGG due to how well he controls range. The APB champion is Artem Chebotarev who won a World Championship bronze in 2013 but is past his best. It was also Anthony Fowler who won a bronze and has gone 5-2 in the WSB. He beat Dmytro Mytrofanov who was the number two seed and has the ability to be a medalist. Tomasz Jablonski has gone 6-1 in the WSB while Ilyas Abbadi went 8-4. Hosam Abdin and Michael O’Reilly were the bronze medalists at the last Championships while Vikas Yadas won bronze in 2011. Christian Mbilli Assomo won the European qualifying event and is unbeaten in the WSB.

This time there looks like being three dominant boxers. Lopez is a phenom who does not look like losing anytime soon. But Melikuziev is very young and definitely improving. Alimkhanuly was surprised by O’Reilly at the last World Championships but you would expect him only to lose to the two names mentioned.  Behind that I think it comes down to O’Reilly, Fowler and Mbilli Assomo. So much as usual depends on the draw but if they all got drawn in the same section I would edge to Mbilli Assomo
o Arlen Lopez
o Bektemir Melikuziev
o Zhanibek Alimkhanuly
o Christian Mbilli Assomo

Men’s Light Heavyweight (-81kg)
The reigning three time World Champion, Julio Cesar La Cruz has to be the strong favourite. He went 8-1 in the WSB and is just so quick at the weight. The man he best in the final was young Irishman Joe Ward improving on his 2013 bronze medal. Two medalists from the Olympics return. Adilbek Niyazymbetov was the silver medalist, the same medal he won in 2011 and 2013. The awkward southpaw is a difficult draw for anyone. Also Teymur Mammadov has a bronze medal which he won at heavyweight to go with his two World Championship medals. The tall southpaw has not been as impressive at the lower weight. There is also a professional boxer in the form of Hassam N’dam N’jikam. The Cameron star had two world title shots, his only defeats at that level, but his strength make him a match for anyone. Mathieu Bauderlique is the APB champion and has powerful hands. Albert Ramirez was the last man to be Cesar La Cruz. Valentino Manfredonia was impressive when going unbeaten in the WSB. Elshod Rasulov has three World Championship medals, most recently a 2015 bronze medal but has not managed to win tournaments for a while. Joshua Buatsi has shown his promise and power when dropping Cruz and winning the Rio Test Event but has lost to Peter Mullenberg a few times. Petr Khamakov, Carlos Mina, Andelhafib Benchabla, Ehsan Rouzbahani and Sep Hrvoje are also contenders.

Julio Cesar La Cruz is perhaps one of the most dominant boxers heading into these Olympics. He did struggle at the last Olympics and I wonder if that creates more pressure. Joe Ward has improved a great deal and looked second to only Cruz at recent championships. Bauderlique has game changing power and a win over Ward but could be beatable. Ramirez, Manfredonia and Niyazymbetov are all very strong boxers while the power of N’Dam and Buatsi can win fights.
o Julio Cesar La Cruz
o Joe Ward
o Albert Ramirez
o Mathieu Bauderlique

Men’s Heavyweight (-91kg)
A few potential challengers will be competing for the heavyweight title. Vassily Levit went 14-1 in the WSB only losing to Erislandy Savon. The Cuban went 18-0 and but has maybe not met expectation in major tournaments when winning silver at the World Championships and losing to Anthony Joshua in a poor decision at the last Olympics. Clemente Russo, also lost to Anthony Joshua in the 2012 final adding to his 2008 silver medal and two World Championships. Evgeny Tishchenko, the Russian southpaw went 5-1 in the WSB and is the current World Champion improving on his silver medal from 2013. David Graf has shown impressive power. Yamil Peralta won the 2013 World Championship bronze medal and has gone 8-0 in the WSB. Abdulkadir Abdullayev is ranked third in the world but young Brit Lawrence Okolie beat him in the European Qualification tournament despite having less than 30 bouts.

I imagine these eight dependent on the draw will come up against each other. I daresay Savon will be the man they all want to avoid. He is sensational but Tischenko did beat him and to repeat the trick would not be a surprise. Levit, Russo, and Peralta are both very impressive but I think the major surprise comes from Lawrence Okolie.
o Evgeny Tishchenko
o Erislandy Savon
o Vassily Levit
o Lawrence Okolie

Men’s Super Heavyweight (+91kg)
The strong favourite has to be the man described as the Azerbaijani George Foreman, Magomedrasul Majidov. He is the current Olympic bronze medalist and a double World Champion with a high work rate who looks to finish opponents. The other bronze medalist from 2012 was Ivan Dychko. He has also won medals at the last three World Championship, but not gold. In the absence of Majidov, the last World Championship was won by Tony Yoka, the speedy Frenchman. He beat Joe Joyce in the semi final and the Brit has been impressive in the WSB. Bakhodir Jalolo was the other bronze medalist. Filip Hrgovic is the current European Champion and has a brilliant WSB record of 24-4. Erik Pfiefer is the current APB Champion having won two World Championship bronze medals. Clayton Laurent, Mihai Nistor, Mohammed Arjaoui and Lenier Pero are also potential contenders.

Majidov is the man who at his best, is better than the rest. But, this is the heavyweight division where anything can happen. Pfiefer has been really impressive lately and needs to be considered. Hrgovic, Yoka, Dychko and Joyce are the other major contenders for the medals.
o Magomedrasul Majidov
o Erik Pfiefer
o Joe Joyce
o Tony Yoka

Women’s Flyweight (-51kg)
Nicola Adams, as the reigning World and Olympic Champion, is a strong favourite but of the favourites seems the least likely to triumph. The woman she beat to win the Olympic title was Ren Cancan, a triple World Champion. While it was Peamwilai Laopeam who she beat in the World Championship final. She has an impressive win over Marlen Esparza. Also with an impressive win is bronze medalist Zhaina Shekerbekova who beat light flyweight World Champion Nazym Kyzaibay. Sarah Ourahmoune also won World Championship bronze last year. Stanmira Petrova is an interesting entry as she was the 2014 Bantamweight World Champion. Mandy Bujold and Ingrit Valencia also contend.

Adams is my favourite and for me she looks unlikely to be beaten. Maybe Petrova if she came into her bantamweight form. Otherwise Zhaina Shekerbekova has been very impressive lately along with Peamwilai Laopeam.
o Nicola Adams
o Zhaina Shekerbekova
o Peamwilai Laopeam
o Stanmira Petrova

Women’s Lightweight (-60kg)
The favourite here is Katie Taylor perhaps the greatest ever amateur boxer. She is the current Olympic Champion and five- time World Champion. She lost a split decision in the semi final to Estelle Mossely who went on to become 2016 World Champion improving on her bronze. The Brazilian hope comes from Adrian Araujo who won bronze in 2012. Anastasia Beliakova won the silver in 2016 following up on her 2014 World Championship at light-welterweight. Mira Potkonen, Yin Junhua, Mikaela Mayer and Yana Alekseeva are all former World Championship medalists. Hasnaa Lachgar and Shelley Watts could also contend.

I noted Adams is the favourite perhaps in most danger, but Taylor did lose recently. You imagine this will inspire her on to a dominant performance. Mossely is clearly her main danger and would be a great final. Beliakova and Alekseeva are two brilliant boxers who I imagine will do well. Araujo as the home town fighter will likely get the decision in any close bouts.
o Katie Taylor
o Estelle Mossely
o Anastasia Beliakova
o Adriana Araujo

Women’s Middleweight (-75kg)
The last of the strong favourites is Claressa Shields. The reigning Olympic and double World Champion has only ever lost once in her career. To me, nobody looks capable of beating her. The last World Champion prior to her was Savannah Marshall who won a bronze at the last Championships. Ariane Fortin also won a World Championships while Anna Laurell Nash won her first World Championships fifteen years ago. Chan Nien-Chen was the bronze medal winner at the most recent World Championships. The number two ranked boxer is Nouchka Fontjin who won the silver, improving on her bronze from 2014. Khadija Mardi and Yarislavla Yakushina could also contend.

Claressa Shields look as close to unbeatable as you find in boxing. The draw is key, to make the final you have to avoid Shields. Fontjin is probably the best of the rest while I think Marshall and Qian take the other medals.
o Claressa Shields
o Nouchka Fontjin
o Savannah Marshall
o Li Qian

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 10:46am, 08/07/2016

    Don’t recall if I posted this before but Angela Merkel has just issued an edict that all German males above the age of twelve must wear assless chaps while out and about in public to give a warm and juicy willkommen to their refugee masters. Frau Merkel spent her formative years in Commie East Germany and Obama spent his in Indonesia listening the “most beautiful sound in the world”....the Muslim call to prayer. Both are every bit as batshit crazy as Dr. Evil George Soros.

  2. Eric 09:50am, 08/07/2016

    Irish…Watch it. IF you were in Germany, you could be arrested for such language. “Truth is hate speech to those who hate the truth.”

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:11am, 08/07/2016

    “You can be full of kindness and love but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog.” (Ashin Wirathu, Burmese Buddhist Leader, referring not just to radical Islamist terrorists….but to all Muslims, each and everyone of the 1.9 billion.

  4. Eric 06:03am, 08/07/2016

    Watching Olympic boxing has never really been one of my priorities except for the 1976 games, even wasn’t that interested in ‘84. Time to give all those sports that only get receive major recogniton every 4 years a chance. Numero uno with me has always been gymnastics, followed by wrestling, weightlifting, track & field (especially the decathlon), swimming, volleyball, etc. Take a good hard look at Rio, America, that could very well be what your future looks like. What a crime-ridden dump of a literal cesspool. Look at Rio, then look at Tokyo, now where would you rather live?

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:29pm, 08/06/2016

    The only interest here is Super Heavyweight and whether we have to wait another generation for another Klitschko…. or could it be that the Klitschkos were the Larry Birds of boxing, in which case we’ll never see their like again. The Azerbaijani George Foreman is just not going to fit that bill and neither is “Happy Feet” Olex Usyk!

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