Since its inception the Olympic Games have brought a magical feeling of sporting excellence as the best athletes in the world gather to fight for a medal to validates their life work, proving that all their hard work and dedication wasn’t all for nothing.
This year I am giving insomnia a try, well, I think I already have but regardless, I am going to watch all the Olympic action for sports that matter to the usual fight geek, y’know? the ones that want to know where the next Dan Henderson or Randy Couture is coming from.
At this stage, only Judo and Boxing events have been deemed worthy of my attention so I’ll take a look at action-packed day two on stage in London.
Men’s -66kg Judo
While it was Lasha Shavdatuashvili who walked away with the Olympic gold medal wrapped around his neck for Georgia unquestionably the story of the day was Great Britain’s Colin Oates’ run through the series.
Oates spoiled the coming out party for Australia’s top medal hope for Judo Ivo dos Santos denying my countrymen to get out of the final 32 before dominating 2008 silver medalist Tsagaanbaatar Khashbaatar (I swear to god I’m not making these names up) before losing to eventual winner Shavdatuashvili.
Shavdatuashvili wasn’t the most popular man in London as he spoiled Great Britain’ favorite Judoka but he continued on as the clear favorite to take home the gold medal.
We were left with a four horse race with Shavdatuashvili, Miklos Ungvari, Masashi Ebinuma and Sugoi Uriarte all vying for a spot on the podium in the quarter-finals with Shavdatuashvilinotching an Ippon finish to Masashi and Ungvari dominating Uriarte.
The finals was a hard-fought fight with both jocking for position most of the battle, in the end a throw from the 20-year-old while sweeping the foot gave him the upper hand to make it a very successful first trip overseas.
Women’s -52kg Judo
The final 32 of the -52kg Women’s Judo was cut-throat, hard competition with three key favorites, former bronze medalist Misato Nakamura, 2011 Pan-Am silver medalist Erika Miranda and accomplished German Judoka and national celebrity due to a Playboy spread Romy Tarangul all exiled before the final 16.
An Kum-Ae, the eventual winner took silver in the last Olympics but now at 31-years-of-age she returned to get the big one and was clearly the favorite after defeating Nakamura, with several of the top seeds eliminated there were few that were going to get in her way.
Yanet Bermoy Acosta was on quite the role of her own though, she had won all of her fights for the day, up until this point quite convincingly with none giving her a real task as we set up a final between these two forces that was really competitive.
Kum-Ae came in maybe a little too overconfident looking to really bully around her Cuban foe but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen as both cancelled one another out forcing the match to go into overtime where Kum-Ae got a throw, having her land on her back to win in the final minute before judges would have come into play.
Men’s -60kg (Lightweight) Boxing
In the morning’s lightweight boxing we had six boxers moving forward to the next round, the key standouts were Felix Verdejo, Jai Bhagwan and Quiang Liu.
Verdejo is a Puerto Rican boxer former Pan-American Youth Champion making his Olympic debut as his opponent Juan Hertas didn’t really have any answers to him as he took a beating in an one-way traffic sort of affair.
Bhagwan is one of the more experienced boxers having nabbed broze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and he had too much for Andrique Allisop winning 18-8.
Liu really impressed me here, he has a really long and lanky frame that allows him to stick on the outside and do damage and Luke Jackson from Australia just had no idea what to do with the Chinaman.
In the afternoon lightweight tilts again another six advanced to the final 12 but this time, not as many stand-outs with the talented 19-year-old American Jose Ramirez Jr. being the star of the afternoon.
At only 19-years-of-age he has already nabbed the 2010 United States National Championship for Boxing, along with many other accolades but the Mexican-American stand-out stole the show is a hard-fought fight with Frenchman Racchid Azzedine.
Here at the brackets for when the lightweights continue on August 2.
Vasyl Lomachenko (Ukraine) vs Wellington Arias Romero (Dominican Republic)
Ahmed Mejri (Tunisia) vs Felix Verdejo (Puerto Rico)
Gani Zhailauov (Kazkhstan) vs Jai Bhagwan (India)
Qiang Liu (China) vs Yasnier Toledo (Cuba)
Josh Taylor (Great Britain) vs Domenico Valentino (Italy)
Evaldas Petrauskas (Lithuania) vs Fatih Keles (Turkey)
Fazliddin Gaibnazarov (Uzbekistan) vs Jose Ramirez (United States)
Soonchul Han (South Korea) vs Vazgen Safaryants (Belarus)
Men’s -69kg (Welterweight) Boxing
The welterweights took center stage this morning as we cut the field into half, while there were a number of interesting fights the ones to assert their dominance early were Alexis Vastine and Freddie Evans.
Vastine has been here before, nabbing a bronze medal at light-welterweight in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and he didn’t get an easy task in lightning-fast German Patrick Wojcicki but the Frenchman was able to be active the entire fight pestering with his strikes to win a competitive decision 16-12.
Evans, representing Great Britain had a large fan following but that might have worked against him early on as 21-year-old Algerian Ilyas Abbadi was able to take control of the action early but Evans showed great composure being able to bounce back to comfortably take the rest of the fight.
The afternoon again didn’t set the world on fire, the stand-out performances came from Errol Spence and Yasuhiro Suzuki.
Spence had a lot of pressure on his shoulders with everyone from his Country in boxing thus far having won, despite a game effort from Brazilian Myke Carvahlo, he had nothing to really bother the American who pestered with his jab all fight to set up his power-shots.
Suzuki had a hard-fought match with Mehdi Khalsi of Morocco as Khalsi took a slight lead early and seemed to be comfortably protecting his lead but a strong finish from the Japanese fighter managed to get him up by a hair winning 14-13.
Here is the brackets for the welterweights as they continue on August 3.
Taras Shelestyuk (Ukraine) vs Vasilii Belous (Moldova)
Tuvshinbat Byamba (Mongolia) vs Alexis Vastine (France)
Custio Clayton (Canada) vs Cameron Hammond (Australia)
Freddie Evans (Great Britain) vs Egidijus Kavaliauskas (Lithuania)
Errol Spence (United States) vs Krishan Vikas (India)
Adam Nolan (Ireland) vs Andrey Zamkovoy (Russia)
Siphiwe Lusizi (South Africa) vs Gabriel Maestre (Venezuela)
Yasuhiro Suzuki (Japan) vs Serik Sapiyev (Kazakhstan)
Well, that’s all from me folks, be sure to check back tomorrow as I’ll have full day 3 coverage for the Boxing and Judo. Also check out day 1 coverage here if you missed it.
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