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It was sensational at the ExCeL as the boxing event at the London 2012 Olympic Games went into its second day. The much anticipated Welterweight (69kg) categories showcased some of the most talented boxers on the planet and the action did not disappoint.
In the first of the six Welterweight (69kg) bouts of the session, tough Moldovan southpaw Vasilii Belous had the measure of Selemani Kidunda from the first bell, using his jab and his reach to keep his opponent at bay before unloading some devastating straight one-twos. Rocking the 28-year-old from Tanzania several times as he recorded a 20:7 victory, University World Champion Belous will be in confident mood when facing the top seed from Ukraine Taras Shelestyuk in the next phase of the competition.
The experience of Mongolia's Tuvshinbat Byamba really shone through in his battle with 24-year-old Yannick Mitoumba Mbemy from Gabon. Quality footwork and a thunderous overhead right were the signature moves by the 25-year-old and the man from Gabon just could not contain the classy Byamba. Efficiently smooth, the Mongol was imperious in every department as he prevailed in style 17:4.
Flamboyant Frenchman Alexis Vastine, part of the victorious Paris United team in the World Series of Boxing first season, looked to make his punches do the talking against the compact 20-year-old Patrick Wojcicki. The orthodox Vastine often looks more concerned with style rather than substance but knowing that the German represented quite a dangerous opponent, he knuckled down and did the business over three rounds to win 16:12. It was a very entertaining fight between the 25-year-old soldier from Normandy and the German prospect.
"I under-performed in Beijing four years ago after having put too much pressure on myself, so this year I want to enjoy the Olympic experience and take one fight at a time. Next up for me is Mongolia's Byamba, who is a top class boxer, so I will need to box clever once more".
Powerful Custio Clayton is still developing as a fighter but has been in fine form of late. Coached by Daniel Trepanier, Clayton is said to have a very bright future and proved he has big credentialsafter triumphing 12:8 against Mexico's talented former AIBA Youth World Champion Oscar Molina Casillas, a silver medallist at the AIBA American Olympic Qualifying Event Rio 2012.
The highlight of Australia's Oceania Champion Cameron Hammond's bout was a devastating right that forced Moustapha Abdoulaye Hima to take a standing eight count midway through the second round. It was a pulsating contest between two relatively untested boxers at this level. In the third, the Australian stepped up a level to take control of proceedings against the 20-year-old from Niger to move deeper into the competition with a well-earned 13:6 victory. He now faces Clayton for a place in the quarter-finals.
Great Britain's reigning European Champion Freddie Evans raised the roof at the ExCeL when he made his way to the ring for the ultimate contest of the afternoon session. The orthodox fighter from Cardiff faced the lightening quick Algerian Ilyas Abbadi and put on a real show for the vocal spectators out to support the home boxer. It was tight but the Brit's superior shot making saw him score points with several penetrating combinations. Evans showed quality defensive skills too as the Algerian looked to make up his five point deficit in the third. The Welshman even took time to entertain the crowd with a few shuffles before throwing some hard combinations. The orthodox Brit comfortably won 18:10 and will now face third seed and the man who defeated him at the AIBA World Boxing Championships last year, Lithuania's Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
On his next opponent, Evans said, "When I lost against him in Baku, I was not focused. His style suits me so this time there will be no mistakes".
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