By Jake Donovan
Zou Shiming has taken one more step towards a second straight Olympic Gold medal in the light flyweight division. A major road block was averted on Wednesday, as China's best little big man won a disputed 13-10 decision over Birzhan Zhakypov of Kazakhstan.
The irony in the journey between then and now is that Shiming didn't need to rely upon home cooking in order to run the tables during the 2008 Beijing Games. The 2012 Games, however, have bore witness to a light flyweight who has already perhaps seen his best days.
Zhakypov picked up on this and pushed the 31-year old every step of the way. The threat of an upset was in the air, just not on the scorecards as the judges seemed to favor Shiming no matter what took place in the ring.
The third and final round saw a legend battered and exhausted, but rescued by the sound of the final bell. The fear wasn't over being knocked, but rather comfort in knowing that going the distance in a close fight most likely meant his being granted the benefit of the doubt.
It turned out to be the case, as the decision was met with a chorus of boos from a displeased London crowd who didn't have a dog in the hunt at any point for this weight class.
Shiming is guaranteed a second medal, but faces a challenge much closer to home (location-wise) in the semifinals.
Paddy Barnes of Ireland went in both guns blazing, perhaps energized by the brilliant showcase offered by teammate Katie Taylor this afternoon. Whatever the case, Barnes delivered his best performance of the Games to this point, which he needed in overcoming a determined Dovendre Singh of India to take a 23-18 win.
Both fighters were warned at separate points in the contest, Singh for a leading with his head in round two and Barnes for holding in the final round. Each fighter gained two points for being on the receiving end of the infractions, but it was the action in the ring that spoke loudest.
Barnes proved to be a little bit too much for Singh, who probably beats any other light flyweight in the world on this night. Sadly, his drawing the determined Irish light flyweight means the end of the road for Team India, who scored a bronze medal after Mary Kom lost in her semifinal match this afternoon.
David Aryapetyan keeps the good times rolling for Russia's 2012 squad. The amateur boxing powerhouse has now placed five fighters in the medal round, with a shot at one more later this evening in the light heavyweight division.
Aryapetyan did his part to contribute, turning back the challenge of Turkey's Ferhat Pehlivan in a 19-11 win. The Russian light fly guy was in charge throughout, scoring a standing eight count to put a final stamp on a dominant performance.
Awaiting Aryapetyan in the light flyweight Final Four is Thailand's Kaeo Pongpraymoon, who impressed in a 16-10 win over Aleksander Aleksandrov of Bulgaria.
The light flyweight semifinals take place Friday, August 10. The winners go on to the finals, while the losers will share Olympic bronze.
Light Flyweight Quarterfinals (Wednesday, August 8)
Zou Shiming (China) vs. Birzhan Zhakypov (Kazakhstan), 13-10
Paddy Barnes (Ireland) def. Devendro Singh (India), 23-18
David Aryapetyan (Russia) def. Ferhat Pehlivan (Turkey), 19-11
Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thailand) def. Aleksander Aleksandrov (Bulgaria), 16-10
Light Flyweight Semifinals (Medal Round - Friday, August 10):
Zou Shiming (China) vs. Paddy Barnes (Ireland)
David Aryapetya (Russia) vs. Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thailand)
Round of 16 Results (Saturday, August 4):
Shiming Zou (China) def. Yosbany Veitia (Cuba), 14-11
Birzhan Zhakypov (Kazakhstan) def. Mark Barriga (Philippines), 17-16
Paddy Barnes (Ireland) def. Thomas Essomaba (Cameroon), 15-10
Devendro Singh (India) def. Purevdorjiin Serdamba (Mongolia), 16-11
David Ayrapetyan (Russia) def. Jantony Ortiz (Puerto Rico), 15-13
Ferhat Pehlivan (Turkey) def. Ramy El Awadi (Egypt), 20-6
Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thailand) def. Carlos Quipo (Ecuador), 10-6
Aleksander Aleksandrov (Bulgaria) def. Jong-Hun Shin (South Korea), 15-14
Light Flyweight - Round of 32 Results (Tuesday, July 31):
Yosbany Veitia (Cuba) def. Billy Ward (Australia), 26-4
Mark Barriga (Philippines) def. Manuel Cappai (Italy), 17-7
Birzhan Zhakypov (Kazakhstan) def. Jeremy Beccu (France), 18-17
Thomas Essomaba (Cameroon) def. Abdelali Daraa (Morocco), 13-10
Devendro Singh (India) def. Bayron Molina (Honduras), RSC-1 (2:24)
Jantony Ortiz (Puerto Rico) vs. Tetteh Sulemanu (Ghana), 20-6
Ferhat Pehlivan (Turkey) def. Carlos Suarez (Trinidad & Tobago), 16-6
Carlos Quipo (Ecuador) def. Jose Kelvin de la Nieve (Spain) , 14-11
Kaeo Pongprayoon (Thailand) def. Mohamed Flissi (Algeria), 19-11
Aleksandr Aleksandrov (Bulgaria) def. Juliano Maquina (Mozambique), 22-7
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: