Asia demonstrated itself to be the emerging power in Olympic boxing as eight fighters from the continent reached finals on Friday, the South African Press Association reported.
China had three fighters reaching a final but Mongolia and Thailand also managed two with Kazakhstan providing the eighth for the continent. China can count themselves a little lucky, though, as super-heavyweight Zhang Zhilei qualified when his last four opponent Vyacheslav Glazkov, who had beaten Zhang at last year's World Championships, pulled out injured.
Zhang Xiaoping at light-heavyweight was also fortunate squeezing past Kazakh favourite Yerkebulan Shynaliyev on a highly contentious decision.
Both China and Mongolia made history by qualifying fighters for an Olympic boxing final for the first time -- and in Mongolia's case it was at a Games where judoka Tuvshinbayar Naidan won the country's first ever Olympic gold.
Thailand's gold medal hopes Manus Boonjumnong and Somjit Jongjohor both kept their Olympic dreams alive.
Reigning champion Manus produced at times a ragged performance in beating Cuban light-welterweight Roniel Iglesias while Somjit, world champion in 2003, outclassed Italy's Vincenzo Picardi at flyweight. Manus vowed to give his all in the final: "I will fight to the death. I will give my life in the ring."
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)