By Jake Donovan
Great Britain's own Tom Stalker began the evening competition in giving his nation its sixth boxer to advance to the quarterfinals. How well-received his effort is in getting there is up for debate, as a 20-16 win over Manoj Kumar of India didn't quite seem to reflect what took place in the ring.
Both fighters had their say in an active first round in which the only ones who struggled to keep up were the judges. Stalker held a 7-4 lead after one, although both appeared to land seemingly every punch they threw in the round.
Kumar continued the high octane effort in the second round, yet incredibly found himself in an even deeper hole. Stalker was effective in playing keep away, a tactic that made his punches far more visible than the sensational body attack employed by Kumar.
The judges went for style over substance, however, leaving the Indian boxer to attempt to overcome a six-round hole. He tried his damnest, but could only narrow the gap in a third round that otherwise should have decided the contest.
Instead, Great Britain now runs its record to 9-1 in 2012 Olympic competition, with six male fighters having now advanced to the quarterfinals.
Stalker will next face Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene of Mongolia. The three-time Olympian advances to the quarterfinals by surviving a tough test in a 15-12 win over Richarno Colin of Mauritius.
Monke-Erdene advances all the way to the quarterfinals in the 2008 Beijing Games but was ousted by France's Alexis Vastine, also currently alive in this year's competition. Another tough challenge is in front of him, perhaps not so much Stalker himself as his going up against the hosting nation's fighter.
In what amounted to a loser-leaves-town match for the boxing teams of both fighters, Jeffrey Horn kept Australia in the hunt with a 17-11 win over Abderrazak Houya of Tunisia.
Horn jumped out to an early lead and continued to add to it. Houya struggled to keep up, and his loss means the end of the road for Tunisia's three-man Olympic boxing squad.
While Horn is a hero to his nation (true in general, but specifically at the moment), his win could just be prolonging the inevitable. The scrappy Aussie next faces Denys Berinchyk of Ukraine, who went to hell and back in taking a 24-23 win over Sweden's Anthony Yigit in perhaps the best fight of 2012 Olympic competition to date.
The London Games have been unkind to fighters coming off of a bye, and this fight was no exception. Berinchyk was granted a first-round pass due to his second place finish in the 2011 World Amateur Championships. The first place finisher was Everton Lopes, who was ousted earlier this afternoon.
Yigit took note of that and stood toe-to-toe with the Ukrainian throughout the contest. Even the judges were into the furiously paced contest, with the final score registering the highest combined total (47) thus far. Nearly half of that tally came on a 13-9 second round won by Berinchyk in a frame where neither fighter remembered how to block a punch.
The final round saw Yigit dig deep in trying to really. The Swede's effort was rightfully applauded, but came up just short in the end. The crowd was appreciative of the underdog's heroics, booing the final result - a shame considering both fighters deserved a standing ovation for their display.
Light welterweight action resumes with the quarterfinals on Wednesday, August 8. The four winners are guaranteed a medal
Round of 16 Matchups (Saturday, August 4):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) def. Everton Lopes (Brazil), 18-15
Uktemjan Rahmonov (Uzbekistan) def. Yakop Sener (Turkey), 16-8
Daniyar Yeleussinov (Kazakhstan) vs. Mehdi Toluitibandpi (Iran), 19-10
Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy) def. Gyula Kate, 20-14
Tom Stalker (Great Britain) def. Manoj Kumar (India), 20-16
Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene (Mongolia) def. Richarno Colin (Mauritius), 15-12
Jeff Horn (Australia) def. Abderzarrak Houya (Tunisia), 17-11
Denys Berinchyk (Ukraine) def. Anthony Yigit, 24-23
Light Welterweight Quarterfinals (Wednesday, August 8):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) vs. Uktemjan Rahmonov (Uzbekistan)
Daniyar Yeleussinov (Kazakhstan) vs. Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy)
Tom Stalker (Great Britain) vs. Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene (Mongolia)