There were remarkable scenes at the Prince Hamzeh Hall in Al Hussein Youth City as three Jordanian boxers booked their spots for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Cheered on by HRH Prince Feisal Al Hussein, President of the Jordan Olympic Committee, and other members of the Royal Family, brothers Hussein and Zeyad Ishaish and Odai Al-Hindawi all won their quarter-final bouts at the Asian/Oceanian qualifying event, meaning they automatically secured spots for this summer’s Games by reaching the semis.
After watching his brother and Al-Hindawi qualify earlier in the morning session, Hussein, 25, produced a boxing masterclass to stop Samoa’s Ato Faoagali in the second round of their Heavyweight 91kg fight to secure his second Olympic appearance following Rio four years ago.
“After watching Zeyad and Odai, I wanted to qualify in style so was delighted to stop him,” said Hussein. “I am so proud of my brother as well and I promise this summer you will see headlines of the Ishaish brothers doing something special in Tokyo.”
He will next fight Olympic silver medallist and No. 1 seed Vassily Levit, of Kazakhstan, who beat Davlat Boltayev, of Tajikistan, on Tuesday morning.
The other 91kg semi-final will involve Uzbekistan’s Saniar Tursunov and New Zealand’s double Commonwealth Games gold medal winner David Nyika.
Earlier, Zeyad maintained a relentless pace on the front foot throughout his Welterweight 69kg fight with Samoa’s Marion Ah Tong, and forced two standing counts on his way to a unanimous verdict from the judges.
“Thank God I was able to win a tough fight,” he said. “I did it for my family and all of Jordan. My dream was always to fight at an Olympics and it has come true. I want to go on and win this Championship now and then plan for Tokyo.”
He will next fight top seed Bobo-Usman Baturov in Tuesday morning’s semi-final after the 25-year-old Uzbek beat China’s Qiong Maimaititu. The other semi-final sees the impressive ‘Indian Tank’ Vikas Kirshan take on world No. 5, Ablaikhan Zhussupov, of Kazakhstan.
Al-Hindawi appears to be in the form of his life as he booked a Light Heavyweight 81kg semi-final spot and Tokyo 2020 berth with a stunning defeat of Thailand’s Jakkapong Yomkhot.
And after his unanimous judges’ decision, Al-Hindawi said the best is yet to come.
“This is the first step,” he said. “The Olympics was a dream but not anymore. I am very excited and believe I can go on to win a medal in Tokyo. I am not alone, this is a team effort with my coach and everyone else behind me. I thank them all for their support.”
He will next box top seed Bekzad Nurdauletov, of Kazakhstan, who beat Tajikistan’s Shabbos Negmatulloev, on Monday evening.
The other semi-final will see Sachin Kumar, of India, fight the impressive Paul Okuso, of Australia, after they won fights over Daxing Chen, of China, and Manh Nguyen, of Vietnam respectively.
The morning session got underway with some top class women’s action, with former World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist Qian Li, of China, being the first fighter of the tournament to book an Olympic spot after beating Myagmarjargal Munkhbat, of India, in the women’s Middleweight 75kg division. The top seed will now fight Rani Pooja, of India, in Tuesday night’s semi-final after she defeated Pomnipa Chutee.
Jordan still has two more boxers involved, with Obada Al-Kesbeh and Mohammad Al-Wadi bidding to book their Olympic places on Monday.