By Jake Donovan
Regional flavor was on full display in the opening bout of the lightweight quarterfinals. A rabid crowd made for a championship atmosphere as Katie Taylor of Ireland stormed to the semifinals with a 26-15 win over Great Britain's own Natasha Jonas.
From the moment "We Will Rock You" by Queen began blaring, the crowd was raucous in its support of both fighters. Taylor was making her first appearance after receiving an opening bye as the division's top seed. The extra day of rest certainly benefited her, as Jonas was just 24 hours removed from a grueling (though decisive)
21-13 win over Quanitta 'Queen' Underwood in the division's first Olympic bout on Sunday.
Four rounds later, Taylor still appeared the far fresher of the two. The Irish lightweight built an early lead and added to it in every round. Standing eight counts in rounds three and four put an exclamation point on an emphatic performance, although at no point did Jonas threaten to quit fighting.
Taylor moves to the semifinals and is now guaranteed a medal. Her opponent will be Mavzuna Chorieva of Tajikistan, who eliminated China's Dong Cheng with a 13-8 win.
Adriana Araujo of Brazil became the first fighter in the division to win two fights in 2012 competition after outpointing Mahjouba Oubtil of Morocco, 16-12. Araujo has now scored two straight upsets in advancing to the semifinals, topping Oubtil after outlasting Kazakhstan's Saida Khassenova on Sunday.
Yet another uphill climb awaits Araujo, as she will next face Russia's Sofya Ochigava, who is heavily favored to advance to at least the finals if not win it all.
Ochigava certainly looked the part in delivering a thorough beatdown in a 22-4 rout of New Zealand's Alexis Pritchard.
Despite Pritchard's game efforts, the fight was never competitive. Ochigava perfect the art of hit-and-don't-get hit, allowing only a single point in each of the four rounds, while piling on the punches and points in the process.
Pritchard received a standing eight count in the third and could have quit at any point without anyone giving it a second thought. Instead, she braved it to the end, though Ochigava refused to settle for merely winning, adding six more points in the final round.
The lightweight semifinals take place on Wedneday, August 8. The winners advance to the Gold medal round on Friday, while the losers will share honors as bronze medalists.
Lightweight Quarterfinals (Monday, August 6):
Katie Taylor (Ireland) def. Natasha Jonas (Great Britain), 26-15
Mavzuna Chorieva (Tajikistan) vs. Dong Cheng (China), 13-8
Adriana Araujo (Brazil) def.
Mahjouba Oubtil (Morocco)
Sofya Ochigava (Russia) def. Alexis Pritchard (New Zealand), 22-4
Lightweight Semifinals (Medal round - Wednesday, August 8):
Katie Taylor (Ireland) vs. Mavzuna Chorieva (Tajikistan)
Adriana Araujo (Brazil) vs. Sofya Ochigava (Russia)
Round of 16 Matchups (Sunday, August 5):
Natasha Jonas (Great Britain) def. Quanitta Underwood (USA), 21-13
Dong Cheng (China) def. Mihaela Lacatus (Romania), 10-5
Adriana Araujo (Brazil) def.
Saida Khassenova (Kazakhstan), 16-14
Alexis Pritchard (New Zealand) def. Rim Jouini (Tunisia), 15-11
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:
Tags: Amateur Boxing