By Jake Donovan
The bantamweight Gold medal round pits a classic Great Britain vs. Ireland matchup, as Luke Campbell and John Joe Nevin advance to the finals after posting decisive wins Friday afternoon.
Campbell was dominant in a 20-11 win over Japan's Satoshio Shimizu, whose run to the semifinals was unlike any other seen in recent Olympic memory.
The bout featured non-stop action from both fighters, a style which has favored Shimizu to this point. The towering Japanese southpaw has forced a dogfight in each of his four appearances in this year's competition.
Shimizu's problem on this particular occasion was that Campbell was up to the task. Fighting in front of a partisan London crowd, the British bantamweight was not going to be denied a chance at the Gold. An early lead for Campbell continued to grow, as Shimizu could fare no better than going punch for punch at any point in the afternoon session.
The loss ends Shimizu's odd journey to the semifinals. The free-swinging slugger was originally eliminated from competition after a horribly officiated Round of 16 bout with Azerbaijan's Magomed Abdulhamidov. The verdict - a decision win for Abdulhamidov - was overturned after a review of the fight by the AIBA confirmed three knockdowns and at least three more canvas flops that went completely ignored by the referee, who received an immediate expulsion from the remainder of the London Games.
Shimizu managed a controversial victory of his own in his next fight, taking a 17-15 win in a fight most felt should have went to his opponent, Mohamed Ouadahi of Algeria.
Meanwhile, Campbell is a day away from capturing Gold... or settling for silver. A daunting task awaits him, as JJ Nevin has proven to be nobody's easy out. Lazaro Alvarez of Cuba was reminded of this after landing on the wrong end of a 19-14 verdict in a considerable upset
Not only did Nevin manage the upset, he made it look easy in doing so. The five-point margin of victory came about only after the Irish bantamweight coasted in the final round. Alvarez simply had no answers for his opponent, even hitting the canvas at one point, although the knockdown was incorrectly ruled a slip.
Nevin advances the hard way, winning four fights in order to make it to Saturday's finals. The accomplishment comes on the heels of Thailand's Kaeo Pongprayoon doing to the same in a loaded light flyweight division which featured three returning medalists from the 2008 Beijing games.
The bantamweight division didn't boast quite the same minefield for Nevin to dance around, but still makes for a hell of a story as rival nations meet in the championship.
The Gold medal round takes place on Saturday, August 11.
Bantamweight Semifinals (Medal Round – Friday, August 10)
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) def. Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba), 19-14
Luke Campbell (Great Britain) def. Satoshi Shimizu (Japan), 20-11
* Alvarez and Shimizu share Bronze medal honors
Bantamweight Finals (Saturday, August 11)
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) vs. Luke Campbell (Great Britain)
Bantamweight Quarterfinals (Sunday, August 5)
Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) def. Robenilson Vieira (Brazil), 16-11
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) def. Oscar Valdez (Mexico), 19-13
Luke Campbell (Great Britain) def. Detelin Dalakliev (Bulgaria), 16-15
Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) def. Mohamed Ouadahi (Algeria), 17-15
Round of 16 Matchups (Wednesday, August 1):
Lazaro Alvarez (Cuba) def. Joseph Diaz Jr. (USA) 21-15
Robenilson Vieira (Brazil) def. Sergey Vodopiyanov (Russia), 13-11
John Joe Nevin (Ireland) def. Kanat Abutalipov (Kazakhstan), 15-10
Oscar Valdez (Mexico) def. Anjar Yunosov (Tajikistan), 13-7
Luke Campbell (Great Britain) def. Vitorrio Parrinello (Italy), 11-9
Detelin Dalakliev (Bulgaria) def. Ibraham Balla (Australia), 14-10
Mohamed Ouadahi (Algeria) def. William Encarnacion (Dominican Republic), 16-10
Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) def. Magomed Abdulhamidov (Azerbaijan), RSC-3 *
* - Original verdict was Abdullhamidov winner by 22-17; Verdict overruled upon review by the AIBA
Bantamweights - Round of 32 Results (Saturday, July 28):
Joseph Diaz Jr. (USA) def. Pavlo Ischenko (Ukraine), 19-9
Sergey Vodopiyanov (Russia) def. Alberto Melian (Argentina), 12-5
Robenilson Vieira (Brazil) def. Orzubek Shayimov (Uzbekistan), 13-7
JJ Nevin (Ireland) def. Dennis Ceylan (Denmark), 21-6
Kanat Abutalipov (Kazakhstan) def. Wessam Slamana (Syria), 15-7
Oscar Valdez (Mexico) def. Shiva Thapa (India), 14-9
Vitorrio Parrinello (Italy) def. Jonas Matheus (Namibia), 18-7
Ibraham Balla (Australia) def. Aboubakr Lbida (Morocco) – 16-16 (Balla won on countback)
Detelin Dalakliev (Bulgaria) def. Ayabonga Sonjica (South Africa) - 15-6
Mohamed Ouadahi (Algeria) def. Merab Turkadze (Georgia), Walkover (Turkadze no-show at weigh-in)
William Encarnacion (Dominican Republic) def. Romeo Lemboumba (Gabon), 15-6
Satoshi Shimizu (Japan) def. Isaac Dogboe (Ghana), 10-9
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:@JakeNDaBox
Tags: Amateur Boxing