By Jake Donovan
The heavyweight division gets underway for the first time in the 2012 London Games, but the same tale continues for Team USA.
Michael Hunter is the latest to bow out of competition, after coming up on the short end of a 10-10 countback against Russia's Artur Beterbiyev.
Things began promising for Hunter, who jumped out to a strong start before slowing down towards the tail end of the first round. Beterbiyev was effective in turning the fight into a grueling wrestling match, but found himself down after two rounds.
Hunter's corner expressed concern in its fighter allowing the Russian to dictate the pace, urging the American heavyweight to get back to boxing. Hunter did his best to oblige, but couldn't find a way to turn things around. A bloodied nose in the final minute didn't help matters any, though neither fighter really gained momentum from the sequence.
Beterbiyev's late rally came at the perfect time, pulling even on the cards and forcing a countback. The additional math turned into subtraction for Team USA, which sends him its fourth straight member after having won its first four contests.
Hunter missed out on making the 2008 squad, but was a rabid supporter of Deontay Wilder, the lone member of the '08 team to win a medal after taking Olympic bronze in the heavyweight division.
Meanwhile, Beterbiyev keeps his medal hopes alive after pulling out the win. The returning Olympiad - who lost to eventual '08 Gold medalist Xiaoping Zhang - advances to the quarterfinals against top seed Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine, who was given a bye. Usyk also fought in the '08 Games, bowing out in the quarterfinals.
Yamil Peralta of Argentina pulled off a considerable upset with a 13-5 win over Algeria's Chouaib Boulodinat. Peralta scored a second round knockdown and also benefited from two additional points in the opening round due to a low blow. Boulodinat never seemed to find his rhythm, thus ending years of hard work on the World amateur circuit in leading many to believe he would at least go on to medal.
Instead, it is Peralta who stands one win away from Olympic hardware. He faces Tervel Pulev of Bulgaria, who defeated China's Xuanxuan Wang by a score of 10-7 in a largely unspectacular bout.
Four more bouts take place in the evening portion. None will feature fighters from Great Britain, who will have to wait until the very last bout of the super heavyweight division;s Round of 16 later this evening for hometown flavor.
HEAVYWEIGHT ROUND OF 16 RESULTS (Wednesday, August 1)
Artur Beterbiyev (Russia) def. Michael Hunter, 10-10 (countback)
Tervel Pulev (Bulgaria) def. Xuanxuan Wang (China), 10-7
Yamil Peralta (Argentina) def. Chouaib Boulodinat (Algeria), 13-5
Teymur Mammadov (Azerbaijan) vs. Jei Opetaia (Australia)
Julio Castillo (Ecuador) vs. Siarhei Karneyeu (Belarus)
Jose Larduet (Cuba) vs. Ali Mazaheri (Iran)
Tumba Silva (Angola) vs. Clemente Russo (Italy)
QUARTERFINALS (Sunday, August 5)
Artur Beterbiyev (Russia) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (Ukraine/received bye)
Tervel Pulev (Bulgaria) vs. Yamil Peralta (Argentina)
Tags: Amateur Boxing Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox