The diminutive Mohammad Al-Wadi and his Jordanian teammate Zayed Ishaish have booked their spots for Wednesday’s finals night at the Asian/Oceanian Olympic Boxing qualifiers being held in Amman.
With five Jordanians already guaranteed berths for this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Games by reaching the last four in their weights, it was Al-Wadi and Ishaish who managed to take the extra step into the final and improve their rankings.
Al-Wadi fought back from losing the first round to earn a split decision over big-hitting Van Duong Nguyen, of Vietnam, and book a place in the Featherweight 57kg final against World No 2 Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov, of Kazakhstan.
“The strategy was to make it a tight fight and beat him by counter-attacking and it worked,” said Al-Wadi. “I am focussed now on gold here and then going onto Tokyo to win there.”
Ishaish, the world No 8, put down an early marker for this summer’s gold medal in the Welterweight 69kg by beating World bronze medallist and reigning Asian champion, Bobo-Usmon Baturov, of Uzbekistan.
“I told my son Rashid last night that I will reach the final and become the No. 1 in Asia so I didn’t want to let him down,” said Ishaish. “I’ve shown today that I can be the best and, God Willing, I will win the gold medal for Jordan this summer.”
He will fight the impressive Vikas Kirshan, of India, in the final after the former professional outpointed world bronze medallist, Ablaikhan Zhussupov, of Kazakhstan.
It wasn’t to be though for Zeyad’s older brother, Hussein, who won the first round against the tournament’s Heavyweight 91kg top seed, Vassilly Levit, but the Kazakh turned the screw in rounds two and three to secure a split decision win. He will fight New Zealand’s second seed, David Nyika, in Wednesday’s final.
Obada Al-Kesbeh came out firing too in a brilliant first round against Lightweight 63kg fourth seed, Zakir Safiullin, but the Kazakh composed himself to win rounds two and three to take the narrowest of split decisions.
There was a last four defeat too for Odai Al-Hindawi in the Light Heavyweight 81kg who battled well against top seed and fellow southpaw, Bekzad Nurdauletov, of Kazakhstan, who will now meet Paulo Aokuso, of Australia in the final.
The Middleweight 75kg final will see top seed Eumir Marciel, from The Philippines, take on Kazakhstan’s Abilkan Amankul. The Super Heavyweight +91kg final will be between Bakhodir Jalolov, of Uzbekistan, and Justis Huni, of Australia.
Also in the evening session, World No 5 and top seed in the women’s Middleweight 75kg division, Qian Li, of China, beat India’s Asian Champion, Rani Pooja, to set up a final with Australia’s second seed Caitlin Parker who won a split decision against Kazakhstan’s Nadezhda Ryabets.
Six-time world champion Mary Com, of India, saw her run ended in the women’s Flyweight 51kg semi-final by Yuan Chang, of China, who will fight Japan’s Tsukimi Namiki for the gold medal after she defeated World Champion and tournament top seed, Hsiao-Wen Huang, of Chinese Taipei.
There will be no seeds in the women’s Lightweight 60kg final after India’s Simranjit Baath beat the final one standing, Shih-Yi Wu, of Chinese Taipei. The other semi-final contest went the way of Korea’s Yeonji Oh, who saw off the challenge of Thailand’s Sudapom Seesondee.
Wednesday’s final session will get underway at 5pm in Prince Hamzeh Hall with 13 finals taking place – eight men’s and five women’s.