Two Jordanian boxers stole the show on the third day of the Asian/Oceanian Road to Tokyo 2020 Boxing qualifying event in Amman with superb victories to reach their respective quarter-finals.
Odai Al-Hindawi stunned 81kg No 4 seed Jolando Taala in three brilliant rounds to win a unanimous decision, while teammate Obada Al Kesbeh produced a ferocious third round to seal a passage through in the 63kg division.
Both fighters are now just one win away from sealing qualification spots for this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Al Kasbeh, the Asian silver medallist and 2016 Olympian, started sluggishly and lost the first round against Japanese southpaw, Daisuke Narimatsu, but a late knock down in the second round turned the tide, as he unleashed an aggressive last round to clinch a split decision from the five judges.
“Nothing was going to stop me in there,” he said. “I felt I had all of Jordan behind me in the ring. The crowd was fantastic. He was a very strong opponent but I felt stronger as the fight went on and was landing more punches. I was very happy with my performance.”
Next up is the top seeded Bakhodur Usmonov who commanded his fight with Shanil Shahi, of Nepal, but Al-Kasbeh is looking forward to the quarter-final on Monday morning.
“He is good fighter but to reach Tokyo you have to beat the best. I will not stop until I reach Tokyo and I will fight anyone in front of me to get there.”
In the 63kg weight’s other fights on Thursday morning, Iran’s Ashkan Rezaei earned a split decision against Korea’s Jongseung Lee, while fourth seed, Zakir Safiullin, of Kazakhstan, beat China’s Jun Shan.
Al-Hindawi, meanwhile, dominated his fight with Taala, of America Samoa, to book a last eight fight with Jakkapong Yomkhot, of Thailand, on Sunday morning.
“I followed the advice of my coach throughout but felt I wasn’t at my best today, I was at about 70% so I can’t wait for Sunday now to show what I am capable of,” said Handawi.
“The next fight is life or death, as victory means the Olympic Games and a dream come true. I encourage all of Jordan to come down on Sunday to support me. I will do this for you.”
The weight’s No. 1 seed and reigning World Champion, Bekzad Nurdauletov, of Kazakhstan, overcame an impressive Jerome Pampellone, of New Zealand, to book his quarter-final spot, while Shabbos Negmatulloev, of Tajikistan, also went through
Elsewhere, world number six and 75kg top seed, Eumir Marcial, booked his quarter-final place with a win over Kirra Ruston, of Australia. He will next fight Byamba-Erdene Otgonbaatar, of Mongolia who beat Syria’s Ahmad Ghousoon.
Also making their way through to the last eight were Indonesia’s Maikhel Muskita and India’s Kumar Ashish who stunned Kyrgysztan’s Omurbek Bekzhigit-Uulu, the weight’s fourth seed.
The qualifiers, which run until March 11, has attracted 221 of the best fighters from 35 countries with 63 Olympic spots up for grabs.
The event is being broadcasted live on the Olympic Channel web site.
For the full session results, visit: https://boxing.athlete365.org/the-5-qualification-events/asian-oceanian-qualifying-event-amman-jor-3-11-march-2020/