Two top seeds tumbled at the quarter-final stage of the Asian/Oceanian Road to Tokyo 2020 Boxing qualifying event in Amman, with Obada Al-Kesbeh causing a shock in the Lightweight 63kg division to become the fourth Jordanian to book his ticket for this summer’s Games by reaching the semi-final stage.
Al-Kesbeh faced Tajikistan’s Bakhodur Usmonov, the man who beat him in last year’s Asian Championship final, but launched a blistering attack from the first bell, and sustained his aggression throughout to land a unanimous verdict from the five judges.
“I can’t tell you how much this means to me to reach my second Olympics,” said the 2016 Rio Olympian, who joins brothers Hussein and Zeyad Ishaish and Odai Hindawi on the plain to Tokyo. “I learned a lot from last year’s final against him and kept to the plan that we made to beat him. That is four of us for Tokyo now. We have the support of HM King Abdullah II and the Royal Family so this win comes from my heart for all of Jordan.”
His semi-final opponent tomorrow will be fourth seed Zakir Safiullin after the Kazakh beat Ashkan Rezaei, of Iran.
At the other end of the 63kg draw, third seed Chinzorig Baatarsukh, of Mongolia, saw off world bronze medallist, Manish Kaushik, of India, and will next meet China’s Qiong Maimaititu who beat Commonwealth Games gold medallist Harrison Garside, of Australia, with a split decision.
Another big story of the day came in the opening bout of the morning session when women’s Featherweight 57kg World Champion and World No.1, Nesthy Petecio, was beaten by Sena Irie, a native of this summer’s Olympic host city Tokyo.
Following a brilliant fight, the 19-year-old Japanese fighter won on a split decision and was understandably elated.
“I have two reasons to be happy because I not only beat the world No 1, I also booked a place in the Olympics in my Tokyo home,” she said. “We fought at the world championships last year and I suffered from her power, but today I felt much stronger!”
She will next fight Korea’s Aeji Im who booked her semi-final passage and Olympic place with a win over India’s Sakshi Chaudhary.
The other 57kg weight semi-final will see Australia’s Skye Nicolson, seeded three, fight second seeded Yu-Ting Lin, of Chinese Taipei, after they overcame Bolortuul Tumurkhuyag, of Mongolia, and Junhua Yin, of China, respectively.
World No. 1 Amit Panghal, of India, survived a tough fight with Carlo Paalam, of The Philippines, to advance to the semi-finals of the men’s Flyweight 52kg category. He will come up against Jiangun Hu, of China, who stunned fourth seed Saken Bibossinov, of Kazakhstan, to book his Olympic ticket.
The other two boxers to book their passage to Tokyo 2020 by reaching the semi-finals were Australia’s Alex Winwood and reigning Olympic and World Champion, Shakhobdin Zoirov, of Uzbekistan.
As well as the semi-finalists automatically booking their Olympic spots, there are still chances for the losing quarter-finalists to secure a place through the box off.
In the men’s 69kg, Qiong Maimaititu, of China, will meet Japan’s Sewonrets Okazawa for the division’s solitary extra spot after beating Marion Ah Tong, of Samoa, and Wuttichai Masuk, of Thailand, respectively at the end of the morning session.