Friday witnessed wrapping-up of all semifinals of the Olympic boxing's 11 categories, with 22 boxers left for the final matches slated on Saturday and Sunday. During the semifinals, three Chinese boxers managed to conquer respective opponents while one was washed out.
China's best gold hope and two-times light flyweight (48kg) world champion Zou Shiming advanced into the final at the Beijing Olympic Games by beating Paddy Barnes from Ireland 15-0 here on Friday, leaving no chance to the Irish to score even once.
Zou initiated attacks in the first round and won two points, and then made it at 8-0 in the second round, successfully dodging all the punches by Barnes. Zou performed a perfect defense in the third and fourth rounds, leaving no chance for his rival.
In another light flyweight semifinal match, Mongolian Serdamba Purevdorj enjoyed a final say of victory from the judges over rival Yampier Hernandez with a 8-8 tie.
In the light heavyweight (81kg) category, Chinese boxer Zhang Xiaoping exceeded people's expectation by beating world championship bronze medalist Kazakh Yerkebulan Shynaliyev by small points and rushed into the final as a dark horse, securing at least a silver medal for China.
Both boxers were pretty cautious throughout the match, using many tentative and fake attacks to distract each other. Zhang and Shynaliyev fought in similar style and they tied each other throughout the bout with 4-4. When the referee announced Zhang's victory by small points, Zhang jumped in ecstasy and ran like mad around the arena.
He will next face Irish Kenny Egan at his last bout, who easily defeated Briton Tony Jeffries 10-3 before Zhang's fight.
China's super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer Zhang Zhilei enjoyed a walkover against Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov, who presented a medical certificate of a sprained elbow at the morning's medical check and withrew from the fight. Now Zhang has guaranteed at least a silver medal and will directly enter the final match against world champion Italian Roberto Cammarelle, who crushed Briton David Price 9-0 just at the second round before the referee stopped the fight.
However, Chinese welterweight (69kg) boxer Hanati Silamu was eliminated in the semifinal by Cuban power Carlos Banteaux Suarez at 4-17 after a hard fight. Hanati was disappointed for he had wanted a gold. He said after the competition:"I fought well and was aggressive, but my opponent is just better."
The Chinese boxer, 24, earning a bronze medal this time, said he would try to achieve better results in next year's World Championships.
Kazakh welterweight Bakhyt Sarsekbayev gave a good fight on Friday night and overpointed his South Korean counterpart Kim Jungjoo 10-6.
In the flyweight (51kg) category, Cuban Andris Laffita hernandez narrowly beat Russian Georgy Balakshin 9-8. Thai Somjit Jongjohor presented a convincing victory of 7-1 over Italian Vincenzo Picardi.
Cuban bantamweight (54kg) strong-hand Yankiel Leon Alarcon conquered Mauritian Bruno Julie with 7-5. Mongolian bantamweight fame Badar-Uugan Enkhbat didn't shed sweat defeating challenger Moldovan Veaceslav Gojan at a convincing score of 15-2.
In the featherweight (57kg) division, Ukrainian world silver medalist Vasyl Lomachenko unsurprisingly squashed Turkish Yakup Kilic with 10-1, while Azerbaijani Shahin Imranov bowed out early at the start of the second round against French Khedafi Djelkhir, with a suspected wrist injury.
Russian lightweight (60kg) gold medalist Alexey Tishchenko cozily crushed weaker opponent Armenian Hrachik Javakhyan with 10-5. Yet Cuba's Yordenis Ugas suffered a controverisial defeat of 8-15 by low-rated French Daouda Sow.
Other two controversial fights occurred in the light welterweight (64kg) category. Cuban Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo was aggressive throughout the bout against Thai Manus Boonjumnong, but many of his punches did not score. Boonjumnong, however, relied on his foxy footwork and sudden attacks to win the game 10-5.
French Alexis Vastine was fined two scores by the referee while tieing with Dominican dark horse Felix Diaz 10-10 at the last round. The French burst into tears and refused to accept the score.
British middleweight (75kg) James Degale comfortably beat his Irish opponnet Darren John Sutherland by 10-3. Cuban middleweight Emilio Correa Bayeaux crushed Indian challenger Vijender Kumar at 8-5.
In the heavyweight (91kg) section, Russian Rakhim Chakhkiev blocked Cuban Osmai Cuban Acosta Duarte out of the finals with 10-5. Italian heavyweight world champion Clemente Russo vanquished big-sized U.S. opponent Deontay Wilder with an amazing 7-1.
(Xinhua News Agency August 23, 2008)