Who wants to go home winless from the first Youth Olympic Games? Nobody. This is what was at stake on Monday in the International Convention Centre, when Saturday's losing quarter-finalists took on each other to decide who the fifth place boxers would be.
In the flyweight it was obvious as Matusi Haziza of Rwanda.had not attended the morning weigh-in and medical examination, so Vadzim Kirylenka of Belarus was declared winner by walkover.
Two fine, skilled boxers from the former Soviet Union battled it out in the flyweight. Both Vasily Vetkin of Russia and Shaban Shapangalov of Azerbaijan had had high hopes before the start of the tournament, but failed to deliver in the quarter-finals. Shapangalov, the reigning Youth World Champion will have to fly home winless, having received two standing eight counts in the second round, after which the referee stopped the contest, with Vetkin leading 11 to 8. "Of course I am not happy with the fifth place, I wanted to be an Olympic Champion but it was very important for me to beat Shapangalov. He had beaten me in Baku, at the Youth Worlds, so now I managed to take my revenge. Anyway, being here in Singapore has been a great experience," Vetkin declared.
Alexandru Marin is a much more skilled and experienced boxer than Stan Nicette from the Seychelles. The Romanian is a Youth World Championships bronze medallist, with a fierce punch which he unleashed a couple of times. Nicette was counted upon three times, once in each round, and the referee stopped the contest with 30 seconds to go, Marin leading 10 to 2. "I might not have won a match here but still I'll go home happy and satisfied as I had the opportunity to box two bouts. In other competitions I usually get beaten in the preliminaries, and that's it. Here, in Singapore I had a second match after my loss in the quarter-final, and I am sure this experience will have a very strong influence on my young career," Nicette said.
Who said a match for the fifth place could not be exciting? The contrasting styles of Anand Dashdorj of Mongolia and Jakub Chval of the Czech Republic all but guaranteed an interesting featherweight encounter, and so it was. The taller Asian rocked Chval in the third, and went on to win deservedly.
In the lightweight Hrayr Matevosyan of Armenia won by walkover, as his German opponent Thomas Vahrenholt had injured his hand.
If somebody had said before the start of the session that an Afghan boxer and an athlete from the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia would box probably the best match of the evening, nobody would have believed it. Still, Muhammad Oryakhil and Lyndell Marcellin entertained the crowd with huge punches and a relentless attacking style, with Marcellin coming out the winner 12 to 10 in the light welterweight contest. "This is my first win in international competition. This is a great day for Saint Lucia's boxing, and the victory makes me proud, also giving me ammunition for the qualification process for the London Olympic Games in 2012. I want to be there!" a smiling Marcellin said.
One warning here, one warning there - both for clinching - but Denis Radovan of Germany is a technically more skilled boxer than his Zambian counterpart, and it showed in the welterweight bout. After they went neck and neck for two rounds, Radovan shifted into fifth gear, and cruised to a 13-6 welterweight victory.
Another walkover, this time in the middleweight, where Irishman Joe Ward had his right hand broken in his initial bout against Australia's Damien Hooper. So the fifth place went to Adlet Rakishev of Kazakhstan.
Anzor Elpiev made short work of his Iranian coounterpart, who lost by RSC in the final seconds of the first round. "Of course, I am disappointed with the fifth place, I wanted to win the tournament, but still it has been a nice experience to have been here in Singapore," the blond and smiling boxer from Moscow said.
Russia's Alexander Ivanov also stopped his opponent in the first round, but it looked a tougher bout. Ivanov was leading against his American opponent 5-3 when a second eight count caused the referee to stop the contest - although the American's seconds had a different opinion.
And that was to be the final match of the evening, since the super heavyweight category saw another walkover, this time for the Ukraine's Oleksandr Skoryi.
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