Men’s Flyweight (-52kg)
For me this is the best division at this Olympics. Hardly any of this division can be completely counted out, even some of the lesser fighters have the ability to beat some of the favoured fighters. Adding to that is the feeling that none of the top echelon guys are unbeatable.
Amit Panghal is the number one seed but has arguably got one of the tougher draws. Everyone would have been hoping to avoid Hu Jinguan whilst Finol and Martinez are hardly Jianguan. Despite being unseeded, Shakhobidin Zoirov arguably got the best of it despite not being seeded. He was drawn in the same quarter as Mohamed Flissi, probably the weakest of the four seeds. Irvine is also in that quarter but Zoirov should definitely be the one that emerges. The third quarter is headlined by Yosbany Veitia, who will face a tough run. In his opening bout he will likely take on Rodrigo Marte who has a win over him before likely taking on Galal Yafai, who beat him at the World Championships. He has a dangerous path though having to face Alex Winwood or Patrick Chinyemba, in what could be one of the bouts of the first round. The toughest section is the bottom quarter. Billal Bennama is the seeded boxer but will likely have to get through Saken Bibossinov in his first fight and one of his European rivals in either Daniel Asenov or Gabriel Escobar just to medal. Intriguingly, Asenov actually has a good record against both Escobar and Bennama who he has beaten on multiple occasions. Unfortunately, Thitisan Panmot has been forced to withdraw due to injury.
I actually think Jianguan can repeat his success over Panghal from the qualification tournament. In the semi final he would come up against Zoirov who will overcome his toughest foe Flissi in the quarter final. In the semi final I think it will be a cagey affair but Jinguan can get revenge and beat Zoirov to make the final. You could argue it is a good draw for Marte as he has not had to face some of the bigger punchers but given his knockout loss earlier this year, I cannot see him getting through. Instead I could see Yafai edging Veitia with his work rate. In the final quarter I can see a fight fit Bibossinov giving Bennama fits. It may help Bennama that he already has a win over Bibossinov from the Cologne World Cup earlier in the year. It will be a baptism of fire and maybe Asenov is well placed to take advantage. I do think Bennama is good enough at this point to get the win over Asenov but maybe by then the run will catch up to him. Yafai, with his work rate will be a tough opponent and I could see the Brit surprising him. I think class would finally tell in the final as Jianguan would dominate him en route to Chinese gold
🥇Hu Jianguan 🇨🇳
🥈Galal Yafai 🇬🇧
🥉Shakhobidin Zoirov 🇺🇿
🥉Bilal Bennama 🇫🇷
Men’s Featherweight (-57 kg)
Another of the stronger divisions, although there is perhaps less strength in depth at the bottom end of this class.
The top half of this draw is utterly fascinating as the top quarter is incredible tough whilst the second quarter features no big names. Mirzakhalilov is number one seed and will receive a bye before taking on Kurt Walker. To fight him in the quarter final will be between four very good boxers. Galos will take on Temirzhanov and Ragan will fight Kistohurry. This is an incredible tough section and will see people arguing that boxing needs eight seeds. In the second quarter both Takyi and Mulenga receive byes to the second round. Butsenko is a big name but past his best whilst Avila will be hoping to go one further than the last Olympics. Caicedo and Al Wadi round up the section. Lazaro Alvarez is the third seed and will likely make his way through to the quarter final where he will meet up with Peter McGrail, who has a tough route, having to fight Butdee and either Cuello or Shadalov. The bottom section is headlined by Batyrgaziev. In the quarter final he will likely box Tsendbataar as long as he comes through a tough mini section including Aliev and big punching Nguyen.
The opening quarter is a tough one. Mirzakhalilov should make his way through but it is not a nice run. I would not be surprised with any of the four boxers emerging to take him on in the quarter final but he should have too much for them. The second quarter is another landmine but I think Avila can beat Butsenko to get a medal around his neck. The Alvarez v McGrail quarter final in the third quarter is something we should savour if we do get. A repeat of the World Championship semi final, I thought McGrail and his greater work rate won that day, so I have to give him the nod here. Tsendbataar is the man to watch here, with his second round fight almost a guaranteed fun bout before her likely takes on Batyrgaziev. Whilst I would love Tsendbataar to get through, I think the quality of Batyrgaziev would take over and win a decision. It would be a tough bout for him against McGrail as well but I think he can edge the battle of the southpaws, likely going on to meet Mirzakhalilov in the final. There I would once again edge to the improving Russian.
🥇Albert Batyrgaziev 🇷🇺
🥈Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov 🇺🇿
🥉Ceibar Avila 🇨🇴
🥉Peter McGrail 🇬🇧
Arguably the division with the strongest set of upper echelon talent. Many would point to the big four of Backhov, Cruz, Davis and Oumiha as some of the best boxers in the game. They all can be upset though, especially as some of the next level fighters are especially dangerous.
Oumiha is the number one seed but has the worst possible draw, getting Keyshawn Davis. Davis does have to overcome LaCruz which is a tough draw but he will have enough. Mamedov is in the other section of this quarter. Abduraimov is the fourth seed but his section also features Backhov, Usmonov, Chinzorig and De Los Santos. Andy Cruz presides over a tough section, where he will take on the winner of McCormack - Kaushik in his opening bout. Assuming he comes through that he will take on Asanau, another superb talent just to make the medal bouts. The other section sees Jonas as the seed. He will likely face Harry Garside the following round whilst Narimatsu and Safiullin are in that quarter.
Oumiha - Davis is likely to be the bout of the second round before a tough bout against Mamedov in the quarter final. Davis is a superstar but I wonder if the transition to the professional ranks will just blunt his tools slightly. If so, I expect Oumiha will take advantage. I could see Chinzorig causing an upset with his class allowing him to beat Abduraimov, who he already has a victory over this year. Usmonov is another dangerous fighter but his dalliance with the professional ranks will likely harm him amongst this level of competition. I think Backhov should have too much to beat Chinzorig although Chinzorig will probably land the better punches so a judge could see it his way. The bottom section is relatively open and I could see Narimatsu, buoyed by being in his home country, making his way through the rounds beating Safiullin and Garside to reach the semi finals. He would come up against Andy Cruz, who despite an incredible tough draw should make his way through. The semi will provide good respite for him before he continues his dominance over Oumiha in the final.
🥇Andy Cruz 🇨🇺
🥈Sofiane Oumiha 🇫🇷
🥉Hovhannes Backhov 🇦🇲
🥉Daisuke Narimatsu 🇯🇵
Men’s Welterweight (-69kg)
This is an intriguing divisions but depending on how you feel about the best fighters, arguably lacks the superstars that some of the other divisions do. If there is a superstar, it is Pat McCormack.
He is the number one seed and has a relatively easy section. His toughest opponent will come in the quarter final as he takes on either Polanco or Baturov. The second quarter is arguably the weakest with Eashash as the seeded boxer. He will box either Sanford or Clair in the second round and in the quarter finals will probably come against Aiden Walsh, who has a peach of a draw with a bye before a second round tie likely coming against Albert Mengue. Iglesias headlines the second section where he will come up against either Krishnan or Okazawa in the second round. In the quarter final it will either be Johnson or Zhussupov. Zamkovoy also has a good draw where his toughest bout will likely come against the winner of Sotomayor - Madiev in round one. Maestre is another boxer who withdrew from the tournament.
You can see the relative weakness of the division by the draw. Both McCormack and Zamkovoy look to have relatively straightforward paths to the semi finals. Baturov is always an awkward, tough bout but McCormack is too classy for him. Aiden Walsh is another that will now expect to make those semis. The third quarter is the tough one. Iglesias is past his best and seems prime for an upset. Although Krishan is a good boxer, perhaps Okazawa would be more likely to upset both given his speed. Zhussupov will box whoever gets through that little section presuming he can beat Johnson. I think he can take this section and put himself into the semi final. He will come up against Zamkovoy, who he has previously lost to before, but I do believe he can turn the tables here. He will come up against McCormack who has shown on many occasions he has the better of Aidan Walsh. McCormack will be a step too far for Zhussupov though and the Brit will take gold.
🥇Pat McCormack 🇬🇧
🥈Ablaikhan Zhussupov 🇰🇿
🥉Aiden Walsh 🇮🇪
🥉Andrey Zamkovoy 🇷🇺
Men’s Middleweight (-75kg)
The depth just is not here. It feels like a larger number of boxers in this division would struggle to win a medal. At the top end though it is intriguing, although arguably only once you get past Khyzhniak who many would point to as a talent far beyond anyone else in the division.
Khyzhniak may be the most dominant boxer in Tokyo. He does not have an especially tough path though with Moriwaki and Veron arguably the standouts in his quarter. The second quarter is headlined by Eumir Marcial. His run to the quarter final is largely easy but there he will likely come up against Darchinyan or Csemez. Herber Conceicao is the seeded fighter in the third quarter but has got to progress to the semi finals he will have to beat Amankul, who many considered the toughest possible draw. Kakhramonov and Kumar are also in that quarter and are arguably considered a dark horse but the draw will likely make that tough. Backshi got the other draw that everyone wanted to avoid in Troy Isley. Assuming he gets past his opening bout they clash in round two. Ntsengue is also in that quarter and will consider his route through to the quarter final to be favourable.
Khyzhniak surely just wins. Maybe the draw could have been his biggest obstacle if he round himself having to negotiate four tough foes. Instead he overwhelm Morikawa and Veron to make the semi finals. Marcial should reach the quarter finals where I think who will face Csemez who has the class to dispose of Darchinyan. Marcial is a bit too tasty at this point in their careers but it would not shock me if Csemez does pull the upset. The third quarter surely goes the way of Amankul. It may be tough but he should overcome both Kakhramanov and either Conceicao or Kumar. I think Backshi - Isley could be one of the best ties in the second round. I did not expect to predict Isley to do well but I think he gives Backshi all he can handle but the Russian probably goes through. Ntsengue is another danger but Backshi should have too much. The battles he would have to emerge