By Jake Donovan
The final four bouts of the light heavyweight division cap a full Saturday of Olympic boxing action, which saw 24 fighters advance to the quarterfinals in three separate weight classes.
There were no upsets to speak of in the latter half of light heavyweight competition. Beginning the evening punch party, Adibek Niyazymbetov looked every bit the fighter who took second place in last year's World Amateur Championships, pounding out a 13-5 win over Carlos Gongora of Ecuador.
The Kazakh fighter was granted an opening round bye, as was his conqueror from last year's championships - Julio Cesar la Cruz, who dominated in his first bout earlier in the day. Niyazymbetov had a stiffer challenge in front of him but still managed to make it look effortless at times.
Gongora was game but could never mount a sustained attack. He took an eight count in the final round, adding insult to injury in an already losing cause. The loss eliminates Ecuador from boxing competition.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Kazakhstan is well represented with six fighters now in the quarterfinals. The nation as a whole is 11-3 in 2012 Olympic competition.
Ehsan Rouzbahani keeps Iran alive in competition, thanks to his dominant showing in a 18-12 win over Bahram Muzaffer of Turkey.
The bout was a close affair for two rounds before Rouzbahani cleaned out the kitchen in a savage third round display to blow the fight wide open. Muzaffer was so disgusted with his sputtering finish that he sulked back to his corner without even attempting to sell the notion that he deserved to win.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk continues Ukraine's dominance in the 2012 London Games, storming to the quarterfinals with an 18-6 win over Osmar Bravo of Nicaragua.
Gvozdyk made it look effortless throughout, as he was all business in piling up points allowing very few in return. Bravo's night went from bad to worse with each exchange, falling behind early, having his mouthpiece physically ejected in the second and receiving a standing eight count late in the third.
The win gives Ukraine its fifth fighter in the quarterfinals. The nation's only losses came in the very first fight of 2012 competition with Joseph Diaz Jr. defeating Pavlo Ischenko and Ievegn Kyhtrov's dramatic double-countback loss to Great Britain's Anthony Ogogo on Thursday.
Abdelhafid Benchabla carried on continued success for the Algeria boxing squad, giving the nation its third quarterfinalist with a 12-9 win over Germany's Enrico Kolling.
The overall scoring wasn't completely out of whack, though it appeared that Benchabla was in control for the most part. Kolling had his moments, but the occasional shoe shines that would normally work in the pro ranks weren't enough to overcome the damage done by the Algerian over the majority of each round.
Benchabla faces a far more dangerous assignment next week, as he goes on to face Gvozdyk in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Kolling's loss leaves Germany down to one remaining boxer - middleweight Stefan Hartel, who faces Ogogo on Monday.
Light heavyweight action now moves to the quarterfinals on Wednesday, August 8.
Round of 16 Results (Saturday, August 4):
Julio Cesar la Cruz (Cuba) def. Ihab Almatbouli (Jordan), 25-8
Yamaguchi Falcao (Brazil) def. Fanlong Meng (China), 17-17 (countback)
Elshod Rasulov (Uzbekistan) def. Yahia El-Mekachari (Tunisia), 13-6
Egor Mekhontcev (Russia) def. Damien Hooper (Australia), 19-11
Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan) def. Carlos Gongora (Ecuador), 13-5
Ehsan Rouzbahani (Iran) def. Bahram Muzaffer (Turkey), 18-12
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (Ukraine) def. Osmar Bravo (Nicaragua), 18-6
Abdelhafid Benchabla (Algeria) def. Enrico Kolling (Germany), 12-9
Light Heavyweight Quarterfinals (Wednesday, August 8):
Julio Cesar la Cruz (Cuba) vs. Yamaguchi Falcao (Brazil)
Elshod Rahmanov (Uzbekistan) vs. Egor Mekhontcev (Russia)
Ehsan Rouzbahani (Iran) vs. Adilbek Niyazymbetov (Kazakhstan)