Boxer Hussein Ishaiash will bid to become the first ever Jordanian to reach an Olympic quarter-finals when he steps into the ring on Saturday against Romania’s Mihal Nistor.
The 21-year-old super heavyweight (+91kg) was rewarded a bye straight into the last 16 in Rio de Janeiro and will meet a fighter who shares the same 180cm height as him in the ring.
Ishaiash is considered a ‘small’ fighter for his weight category and often that can be used to his advantage to score with body shots, but the team have had to devise a new game plan for the same-sized Romanian who won bronze at the European Championships last year.
“Hussein is relatively small for his division but we have concentrated on his speed which is his biggest asset,” said head coach Azeddine Aggoune. “He has prepared very well for this tournament after securing his qualification early but he will have a tough fight.” Ishaiash came through the tough Asian qualifying tournament where he won bronze back in April and has been undertaking a series of intensive training camps since to be in the best shape possible.
The youngster was given the huge honour of carrying the flag at the Opening Ceremony and fans will now be hoping he can carry the flag through to the last eight of the boxing. “I will do my best for Jordan,” he said. “I was so proud to be carrying the flag at the opening ceremony and I want to win for my country.
I have had unbelievable support from back home so I promise everyone I will do my very best in the ring on Saturday and give everything I have.”
Ishaiash will be wearing red against the 25-year-old Romanian, ranked eighth in Rio and also making his Olympic debut, with the bout scheduled to take place during the afternoon session, at about 7pm Jordan time. The victor could face World No 1 Terry Yoka in the quarter-finals. His bout against Laurent Clayton Jr is scheduled for just before.