Day four of the Olympic Games is in the books, once again it was boxing and judo on the combat sports realm that were featured as we determined two new medallist in judo and more advanced to fight another day in the boxing.
As I always do, I have got a run-down on all the action that has kept me apart from my pillow and the warmth of my bed.
Men’s -81kg Judo
If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought that last night’s judo didn’t consist of 32 men vying for an illustrious gold medal but only two? The announce team made it very clear from the beginning that this -81kg series was all about Kim Jae-Bum and Ole Bischof.
Bischof and Jae-Bum aren’t strangers to one another, in fact four years ago in Beijing they would meet with Bischof winning a close fight on points to capture the gold medal but in London the tables were turned with the South Korean judoka getting the victory and the only prize left out of his trophy cabinet.
But the field wasn’t as open end as the announce team would have you believe, we had dual bronze medalist Leandro Guilheiro, European judo champion Alain Schmitt, Pan American silver & bronze medallist Travis Stevens, judo world champion Ivan Nifontov, amongst others.
The semi-finals Jae-Bum cruise past Ivan Nifortov but the real story was the grueling match between Bischof and America’s Travis Stevens who battled it out for the duration without a score before mat-side officials deemed the German the winner.
And well, you know how it all ended, Jae-Bum had to really fight for it but he would up beating his rival to capture his first gold medal at 28-years-of-age.
Women’s -63kg Judo
Urska Zolnir, 31, has been widely regarded as one of the better judokas at her weight-class for years having gone to the Olympics twice, in 2004 snatching a bronze medal and didn’t even make the podium in Beijing.
Well, that all changed with her first gold medal as she defeated China’s top judoka at -63kg Xu Lili who was a heavy favorite after winning the 2011 Asian Championships but the eldest woman in the competition was just a step ahead for most of the bout eventually getting her hand raised.
The real shocker of the evening was Japan’s double world champion Yoshie Ueno not making it to the finals, Ueno had won two world titles but never an Olympic medal but South Korea’s eighth seed Joung Da-Woon gave her an unceremonious exit before the final mat.
Ueno didn’t leave empty handed though, both her and fellow dual world champion Gervise Emane collected a bronze medal for their troubles but the real star of the day was Zolnir who finally captures a gold medal after almost twenty years of perfecting her art.
Men’s -49kg (Light flyweight) Boxing
Well, it was the smallest boxers in London to shine this morning with the real stand-out performancs coming from Yosbany Veitia of Cuba and Birzhan Zhakypov from Kazakhstan.
Veitia opened up the day’s proceedings with a one-sided beating on Australian Billy Ward – The lightning-fast Cuban just worked circles around the Aussie with superior footwork as he was able to stick and move landing some serious leather on Ward, eventually winning with a dominate 26-4 scorecard.
Khakypov didn’t get off on the right foot, his talented opponent, Jeremy Beccu was landing often and early as the Frenchman took an early lead but the Kazakhstan native took control in the second round and once he got started he really turned up the heat to get up by a single point to advance to the next round.
The afternoon’s 108-pound fighters again put on entertaining performances but it was only Jantony Ortiz of Puerto Rico that stood out from the pack.
Ortiz took a commanding 8-1 lead early and showed no signs of slowing as he was far too much for the Ghana native – Ortiz has incredibly fast hands as he is able to move out of danger and return to the pocket to start throwing hands again.
Men’s -64kg (Light-welterweight) Boxing
The morning’s light-welterweight action was once again dominated by a Cuban as Roniel Iglesias was absolutely dominate over Cesar Villarraga of Columbia as the big Cuban worked for the entire fight and once he took the lead he didn’t let go winning an effortless fight.
Luckily the afternoon had a few more stand-out performances with Richardo Colin, Munkh-Erdene Uranchimeg and Abderrazak Ouya all notching impressive wins.
Colin met Mongolian boxer Abdelhak Aatakni who was competitive early on with both giving as good as they got but as the war raged on Colin took over and out-gunned the Mongol landing significantly more shots in the later part of the fight.
Uranchimeg had a dominate performance against Czech Republic native Zdenek Chiladek as he was an elusive target with a long, lanky frame that made it easy for him to pick apart his Czech foe over the fight as he had no answers for his troubling style.
The upset of the round was Abderrazak Ouya pulling out a highly questionable 11-5 final round to t a three point win over Gaybatulla Gadzhialiyev of Azerbaijan who controlled most of the action before the Tunisia boxer tuned up the heat at the end to narrowly escape with a victory.
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