China tasted victory and defeat at the same time on Monday night, seeing its super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer Zhang Zhilei marched into the top four and a bitter defeat of its featherweight (57kg) Li Yang.
The 2-meter tall Zhang totally controlled the match while fighting Kazakh rival Ruslan Myrsatayev. Being tall and big, Zhang was surprisingly deft at avoiding attacks from Myrsatayev. And his weight empowered his strength, making his punches too heavy for the Kazakhstan boxer to withstand. During the four rounds, Zhang knocked down the 1.85-meter Myrsatayev twice, and enjoyed an easy win of 12-2.
With this victory, Zhang made himself into the last four of his category and secured at least a bronze medal, which is a breakthrough for China in the heavy weight categories.
In other three super heavyweight fights, world champion silver medalist Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov crushed Algerian Newfel Ouatah easily, world champion Italian Roberto Cammarelle washed out low-rated Colombian Oscar Rivas with a 9-5, and Briton David Price enjoyed an early injury of Lithuanian Jaroslav Jaksto at the second round.
Not as lucky as Zhang, China's featherweight Li Yang on Monday night suffered a big loss of 3-12 to Ukrainian strong-hand Vasyl Lomachenko, last year's world championship silver medalist. The two fought each other at last year's world championships, with Li Yang lost after a tie-break. He told Xinhua after the match that he wanted to take revenge at this Olympics, but his desire to win made him impatient. He also admitted that he was less experienced than the Ukrainian, so he needs to fight more "battles" in the future. "I'll surely come back at the next Olympics!" the 26-year-old Li said with a smile.
Other three featherweights passed the quarterfinal test, with Turkish Yakup Kilic beating Algerian Abdelkader Chadi 13-6, French Khedafi Djelkhir defeating Mexican Arturo Santos Reyes 14-9, and Azerbaijani Shahin Imranov sending Cuban Idel Torriente home with a controversial 16-14.
In Bantamweight quarterfinals, Athens Olympics silver medalist Thai Worapoj Petchkoom couldn't beat the powerful Cuban Yankiel Leon Alarcon and lost 2-10. Last year's world championship runner-up Mongolian Badar-Uugan Enkhbat comfortably beat his Botswanan challenger Khumiso Ikgopoleng 15-2 and joined the last four crew. Mauritian Bruno Julie and Moldovan Veaceslav Gojan also made their way to the last four by vanquishing their respective Venezuelan and Indian rivals.
(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2008)