On the Olympic boxing schedule tonight are two of Britain’s best medal hopes in the men’s boxing. Highly rated, but not one of the favourites in the division, Joshua Buatsi will battle Kazakh Adilbek Nitazymbetov in the Men’s Light Heavyweight semi final tonight, a bout which the Brit will be looking to dominate. Then, in the Men’s Super Heavyweight division, tournament favourite Joe Joyce will be taking on Uzbek Jalolov Bakhodir in the quart final.
Buatsi enters the ring at 18:30 local time, which is 22:30 UK time, with Joyce fighting in the match immediately afterwards, at 22:45 UK time.
Buatsi heating up the Light Heavyweight division
The 23-year-old has not only sparked the first knockout of the Rio 2016 Olympic boxing so far, by ending third seed Elshod Rasulov in the quarter finals, but he has also guaranteed Great Britain at least a bronze medal.
Tonight, Buatsi is the heavy favourite to defeat Nitazymbetov and continue his meteoric rise through the division’s rankings. Should he defeat the Kazakhstan pugilist, he will have a real test for the gold medal.
Also fighting in the Light Heavy division, Julio Cesar la Cruz – the division’s favourite coming into the Olympics – takes on Frenchman Mathieu Bauderlique, with the Cuban heavily tipped to progress to the final.
Should both semi finals match the script, we could be in for an incredible final; pre-tournament underdog Buatsi against clear favourite La Cruz. It would be incredible just for Buatsi to reel in a silver medal for Britain, let alone gold – especially if it comes by defeating the Cuban star.
Joyce still on course to take the Super Heavyweight division
In the round prior to these upcoming quarter finals, Joe Joyce clocked a knockout of his own, sending Cape Verde’s Davilson dos Santos Morais to the canvas to progress. He faces Bakhodir Jalolov tonight, who isn’t one of the stronger boxers left in the competition, but also isn’t the weakest. The Uzbek is capable of an upset; he too won in the last-16 by way of knockout which was the bout immediately after Joyce’s – maybe indicating to Joyce that anything the Brit can do, he can do as well.
Also fighting in the Super Heavy quarters tonight is fellow divisional favourite, Frenchman Tony Victor James Yoka. If Joyce and Yoka made the final it would mark Round III of their big stage match-ups, with the Frenchman also being heavily favoured to go through tonight.
Then there’s yet another of the top three fighters left in this division in Kazakh Ivan Dychko, who looks set to defeat Efe Ajagba of Nigeria tonight. The closest match-up this round comes in Quarterfinal 2, with Leinier Eunice Pero, of Cuba, versus Croatian Filip Hrgovic. That match is anybody’s guess, but the winner should be prepared to face one of the top three in the semis.
The hope is that Joe Joyce and Tony Yoka can progress to the semi finals tonight and get drawn into opposite bouts – hopefully leading to a spectacular, rivalry Olympics final.
Don’t forget to tune in
A lot of the top events of these Olympics have been on late in the night for UK fans, which is very unfortunate, but Joe Joyce and Joshua Buatsi fight at a much more reasonable time tonight. Given that fights will take a maximum of half-an-hour combined (22:30-23:00) to start and finish, it will be well worth staying up for.