American Olympic Qualification wide open with sixteen nations set to contest semi-finals in Buenos Aires

March 17th, 2016 / IBA

Day six of the American Olympic Qualifiers in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires saw the men’s semi-finalists confirmed across all ten weight categories. The top 52 male and female boxers from sixteen different countries now remain in the competition, chasing the thirty available Rio 2016 quota places.

The day began with a thrilling battle between two of the continent’s great light flyweight rivals, and it was the Colombian Yuberjen Martinez who was once again able to outbox his old foe and number one seed Carlos Quipo of Ecuador. Martinez will be joined in the semi-finals by Dominican Republic’s Victor Daniel Santillan and home favourite Leandro Blanc, who beat Puerto Rico’s Yankiel Rivera and now faces American Nico Hernandez for a place in the final.

With Trinidad and Tobago’s Michael Alexander unable to box, Venezuela’s Luis Angel Cabrera was able to reach the lightweight semi-finals without throwing a punch, while Honduran teenage star Teofimo Andres Lopez was in excellent shape against Mexico’s Brian Alexis Gonzalez and is now just one win away from an Olympic place along with another home favourite, Ignacio Perrin.

Completing Wednesday’s afternoon session, the light heavyweight semi-finalists were also confirmed, with Carlos Andres Mina defeating Canadian Petru Bolun to meet Colombia’s Juan Carlos Carrillo in the last four, after Venezuela’s current American Confederation Champion Albert Ramon Ramirez had earlier disposed of Chile’s Julio Alamos.

“I studied my Chilean opponent with my coach before the bout and our well-built strategy worked. I was able to raise my speed and box intelligently so I am grateful to God and all those who supported me. To qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games would be the highlight of my career, so I will be doing my best in the semi-final,” said Venezuela’s Albert Ramon Ramirez.

The evening session got underway with the hotly contested flyweight class, and an upset of sorts as Dominican Republic’s Leonel De Los Santos, who had already beaten American Antonio Vargas in the preliminaries, knocked out Venezuelan top seed Yoel Finol.

In the light welterweight competition, Canada’s 2015 Pan-American Games champion Arthur Biyarslanov came through a spectacular battle with Puerto Rican rival Danielito Zorrilla, and Venzuela’s WSB star Luis Arcon halted Rasheid Williams of the Bahamas’ brave bid for an Olympic spot.

Cuba’s London 2012 Olympic Champion Roniel Iglesias then came through a testing quarter-final against Paul Kroll at welterweight, joining Argentina’s top WSB boxer Alberto Palmetta, Guatemala’s Lester Martinez and Venezuela’s 2015 Pan-American Games champion Gabriel Maestre in a tough semi-final field.