By Jake Donovan
Roniel Iglesias of Cuba was one of the few returning medalists from the 2008 Beijing Games to not receive a bye in this year's competition. It hardly mattered, as his Round of 16 elimination of division's top seed Everton Lopes set the stage for an eventual return to glory.
Iglesias stayed true to that blueprint, advancing to the finals after a 15-8 win over Vincenzo Mangiacapre of Italy.
The difference in class was evident early on, even taking into consideration Mangiacapre's success on the world stage. Iglesias made it look easy, boxing wisely early on before turning up the heat. Mangiacapre obviously entered the bout with the intention of fighting for the Gold. But once the bell rang and action began, his goal appeared to be to not get blown out.
It didn't work, even if the final score didn't suggest a full-blown wipeout. Iglesias scored whenever he wanted and eased up whenever he felt like taking a breather. His near-effortless performance earns him a trip to the finals, where a far stiffer challenge awaits.
Denis Berinchyk of Ukraine boasts quite possibly the ugliest hairdo in the 2012 London Games. A strand that starts from the top center of his head just sort of lays flat and off to the side, serving no real purpose.
Fortunately for Berinchyk, boxing is no beauty contest. While the 'do makes him immediately identifiable, his boxing skills is what makes him stand out from the rest of the pack.
This much was learned throughout the competition, but Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene must not have been impressed. The Mongolian was in charge for most of the first six minutes before falling apart in the final round of a 29-21 win for Berinchyk in the highest scoring bout of competition to this point.
Monke-Erdene showed no fear early on, outboxing Berinchyk for most of the first two rounds. A three-point lead heading into the final round seemed safe enough to suggest an upset was in the making.
Then Berinchyk decided to begin fighting.
A 17-point outburst by the Ukrainian light welterweight in round three - including two knockdowns - was enough to not only take the lead but storm way ahead. The eight-point margin of victory wasn't truly indicative of the fight itself, but does speak to Berinchyk's grit and determination in advancing to the finals.
The light welterweight finals takes place on Sunday evening (local time).
Light Welterweight Semifinals (Medal round - Friday, August 10):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) def. Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy), 15-8
Denis Berinchyk (Ukraine) def. Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene (Mongolia), 29-21
* Monke-Erdene and Mangiacapre share Bronze medal honors
Light Welterweight Finals (Medal round - Sunday, August 12):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) vs. Denis Berinchyk (Ukraine)
Light Welterweight Quarterfinals (Wednesday, August 8):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) def. Uktemjan Rahmonov (Uzbekistan), 21-15
Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy) def. Daniyar Yeleussinov (Kazakhstan), 16-12
Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene (Mongolia) def. Tom Stalker (Great Britain), 23-22
Denis Berinchyk (Ukraine) def. Jeff Horn (Australia), 21-13
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 - Round of 32 Results (Tuesday, July 31):
Roniel Iglesias (Cuba) def. Cesar Villarraga (Colombia), 20-9
Uktemjan Rahmonov (Uzbekistan) def. Anderson Rojas (Ecuador) , 16-10
Yakop Sener (Turkey) def. Serge Aambomo (Cameroon) , 19-10
Daniyar Yeleussinov (Kazakhstan) def. Jamel Herrring (USA) , 19-9
Mehdi Toluitibandpi (Iran) def. Jonathan Alonso (Spain), 16-12
Gyula Kate (Hungary) def. Eslam Mohamed (Egypt), 16-10
Manoj Kumar (India) def. Serdar Hudayberdiyev (Turkmenistan), 13-7
Richarno Colin (Mauritius) def. Abedelhak Aatakni (Morocco) , 16-10
Uranchimegiin Monke-Erdene (Mongolia) def. Zdenek Chladek (Czech Republic), 20-12
Jeff Horn (Australia) def. Gilbert Choombe (Zambia), 19-5
Abderzarrak Houya (Tunisia) def. Gaybatulia Gadzhialiyev (Azerbaijan), 19-16
Anthony Yigit (Sweden) def. Francisco Vargas (Puerto Rico), 13-9
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox