Well it only happens once every four years, the world unites and exports their top athletic prospects to London for the 2012 Olympic Games in what will be sure to be an action-packed two weeks that will sweep you off your feet.
If you’re anything like me, you only want to watch the Olympics to spot the next batch of prospects to cross over into mixed martial arts and light up our television screens with hopes for Jordan Burroughs, Jake Herbert, amongst others to don the four ounce gloves in the near future.
The 2008 games in Beijing gave us the likes of Dan Cormier, Sara McMann, Ben Askren and Ronda Rousey and 2012 might deliver even more high-level talents to the eight-sided cage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship or other top fight promotions.
Over the next two weeks I will not be sleeping, I will not be resting, I will not be doing anything but working, writing and watching Olympic Judo, Wrestling, Boxing, Taekwondo (and maybe a little Women’s Beach Volleyball) so I’ll give you a run-down on the sports that matter to your inner fight geek.
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Men’s -60kg Judo
We began with a field of 32 that qualified for the Judo squad that would be narrowed down over a few hours to crown the first gold medallist of the sport for 2012, the opening round went by without too many surprises, other than Britain’s top medal hope in Judo Ashley McKenzie being ousted.
McKenzie was the focus of The Bad Boy Olympian, a BBC documentary but all his new found fame and countrymen’s support didn’t help him against number-two seed Hiroaki Hiraoka.
Cutting the field down to 16 talented judokas the competition was fierce and Rishod Sobirov was the first to really impose his will dominating large Venezuelan Javier Guedez and the other top seeds, the aforementioned Hiroka, Felipe Kitadai and Arsen Galstyan.
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Arsen Galstyan was the perceived underdog all the way through the rest of this series but in his best Randy Couture impression chose to overcome the odds to notch the first gold medal for Russia – In the semi-finals he just got past Rishod Sobirov in the upset of the series at that point.
His luck continued into the finals as he was able to breeze past Japanese judoka Hiroka in just 40 seconds scoring a match-winning Nippon to get his first medal at 23-years-of-age.
Women’s -48kg Judo
While the men’s Judo series was action-packed it might have been the opposing sex that put on a more entertaining chase for the gold with a bunch of high-level girls looking to validate their life’s dedication.
Eventual gold medallist Sarah Menezes almost didn’t even make it through the round of 32 with a hard-fought narrow victory over Laetita Payet, and her bad luck didn’t stop there almost losing in every match until the finals.
Japan’s Fukumi Tomoko, Belgium’s Charlie van Snick and Romania’s Alina Dimitru were the early favorites for top spot on the podium but unlucky draws but Paula Pareto was quick to spoil the hopes for van Snick.
Dimitru asserted her dominance in the semi-finals with an easy win over Tomoko and Menezes again avoided defeat from van Slick to make it to the finals where she kicked it up another gear.
I guess slow and steady does win the race for the Brazilian who was a completely different judoka in the finals defeating Mititru on points to get her first gold medal around her neck.
Men’s -56kg (bantamweight) boxing
We got the first round of the bantamweight boxing with a field of 32 being narrowed down to just 16 with this series continuing on August 1 in just a few days – Jahyn Vitto Parinello made a statement with his dominate victory over Jonas Matheus as it was essentially one-way traffic for the Italian.
William Encarnacion also staked a claim at being one of the top seeds with a win over Braexir Lemboumba, despite a ballsy effort from the Gabon representative he didn’t have answers for Encarnacion.
Joseph Jones Jr. really impressed me with his victory as the 19-year-old dominately took a victory, as well as John Joe Nevin as that youngster also impressed representing his Irish people.
The only real upset of the round was between Satoshi Shimizu and Isaac Dogboe with a pretty competitive fight that ended with Dogboe getting the decision after a late surge but it seemed that those in attendance at the Games didn’t agree with the decision.
Also, should be noted that Mahomed Amine Ouadahi advanced to the round of 16 without competing because his opponent Murab Turkadze failed to make the required weight cut.
Here are the brackets for the Final 16:
Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) vs Joseph Diaz Jr (United States)
Sergey Vodopiyanov (Russia) vs Robenilson Vieira (Brazil)
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) vs Kanat Abutalipov (Kazakhstan)
Oscar Valdez (Mexico) vs Anvar Yunusov (Tajikistan)
Luke Campbell (Great Britain) vs Jahyn Vittorio Parrinello (Italy)
Ibrahim Balla (Australia) vs Detelin Dalakliev (Bulgaria)
Mohamed Amine Ouadahi (Algeria) vs William Encarnacion (Dominican Republic)
Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) vs Magomed Abdulhamidov (Azerbaijan)
Mens -75kg (middleweight) boxing:
The men’s middleweight boxing had a bunch of interesting matches and once again, very few surprises as the underdogs of the series failed to conquer the favorites.
Terrell Guasha had the American’s watching the telecast very happy on my twitter feed as their top medal hope overcame an early surge from big Armenian slugger Andranik Hokobyan to get two knockdowns to take an impressive victory for the USA.
Vigender Singh returned as a favorite after collecting bronze in Beijing and although a hard-fought win got his hand raised against his Kazakhstan-based foe that went the distance giving as good as he got.
Anthony Ogogo continued to look impressive soundly beating Junior Castillo, as well as Stefan Hartel who showed great skills defeating Enrique Collazo.
One of the forgotten stories of this Olympic Games has been Mohamed Hikal of Egypt coming to his fourth and final games, even though he failed to get past the first round or ever touch a medal in four trips he must have a phenomenal story waiting to be told.
Here are the brackets for the final 16 that will continue on August 2:
Ievgen Khytrov (Ukraine) vs Anthony Ogogo (Great Britain)
Darren O’Neill (Ireland) vs Stefan Hartel (Germany)
Mujandjae Kasuto (Namibia) vs Zoltan Harcsa (Hungary)
Soltan Miginitov (Azerbaijan) vs Esquiva Falcao Florentino (Brazil)
Bogdan Juratoni (Romania) vs Abbos Atoev (Uzbekistan)
Terrell Gausha (United States) vs Vijender Singh (India)
Adem Kilicci (Turkey) vs Aleksandar Drenovak (Serbia)
Abdelmalek Rahou (Algeria) vs Ryoto Murata (Japan)
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