At the Kokugikan Arena, a historic sumo wrestling venue filled with posters of the fighters, Cuban Julio Cesar La Cruz revealed why he could be the greatest threat to Russian Gadzhimagomedov.
A. Benchabla Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
La Cruz, who won a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and four amateur world titles at light heavyweight, showed no signs of losing his swagger as he defeated Elly Ajowi Ochola of Kenya by a score of 5-0.
The 31-year-old, known as “La Sombra,” or “the Shadow,” for his unique defensive style, repeatedly dropped his guard to bring Ochola in, then countered with a hit and evaded with quick footwork.
Emmanuel Reyes Pla, of Spain, is up next for La Cruz.
He knocked out Vassiliy Levit, of Kazakhstan, in the second round with a barrage of blows to the head.
Nyika, a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, dominated the first two rounds, leading Youness Baalla, a disgruntled opponent, to try to sink his fangs into Nyika’s ear during a hold in the third.
Nyika escaped just in time to prevent a shutout and a perfect score. Later, Baalla was kicked out of the competition for being disruptive.
And in the evening session, third-seeded Ecuadorian and 2019 world runner-up Julio Castillo was stunned by Jordan’s Hussein Iashaish, losing by a score of 4-0.
The ruling brought the Jordanian to his knees of joy, and he will now face Abner Teixeira of Brazil for a spot in the semi-finals and a guaranteed medal.
I am Overjoyed, for Iashaish was a formidable foe.
I had a good idea of his fighting style, so I used the strategies my trainers had taught me.
To add to his 2019 world title, Gadzhimagomedov will be representing the Russian Olympic Committee in Tokyo after the country was stripped of its flag and anthem for doping offences.
After giving experienced Algerian Abdelhafid Benchabla a quick glance to size him up, he put on a dominant display.
Benchabla, 34, was knocked down by a right hook from Gadzhimagomedov’s strong combo blows and had to take the referee’s standing eight count.
The road to the quarterfinals was more difficult for Andrei Zamkovoi, a countryman and the welterweight world champion and second seed. Against Stephen Zimba of Zambia, Zamkovoi won 4-1 and moved on.
British top seed Pat McCormack advanced to the last eight after a 5-0 victory over Aliaksandr Radzionau of Belarus. His twin brother Luke, competing in the lightweight division, also advanced to the quarterfinals.
After his time in Tokyo ends, McCormack will compete against Uzbek Bobo-Usmon Baturov in his professional debut.
As recently as the first round, I watched him triumph. Even though he’s a skilled fighter, McCormack is confident he can defeat him with a solid performance.
Olympic and world light welterweight champion Roniel Iglesias of Cuba advanced with a 3-2 victory over Sewon Okazawa of Japan in a thrilling final round.