Karriss Artingstall adds to a growing list of history being made in Tokyo. The British Army gunner advances to the semifinal round of the featherweight bracket following a hard-fought split decision win over Australia's Skye Nicolson.
Artingstall won the battle of southpaws by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, while Nicolson nabbed tallies of 29-28 and 29-28 in her favor Wednesday evening at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
All three rounds were competitive and scored accordingly, with neither fighter winning any round on more than three cards. Artingstall was more effective early with her straight left hand while Nicolson scored points with her hook to the body.
Artingstall edged ahead in the final round, one which featured frequent clinching but just enough clean punching from the Brit to move on to the medal round.
Nicolson's dream ends of becoming the first Australian female boxer to fight for a medal. Her entire boxing journey is dedicated to her brothers Jamie (a 1992 Olympian) and Gavin, who died in a car crash in 1994, one year before Nicholson was born.
Artingstall picks up her third win of the competition. It matches fellow featherweight semifinalists Nesthy Petecio (Philippines) and Irma Testa (Italy) for the most so far in Tokyo 2020 and is also the most ever by a non-seeded British female ever. Nicola Adams won three bouts each en route to Gold medals as a seeded flyweight in 2012 London and 2016 Rio.
The win sets up a semifinal showdown between Artingstall and Japan's Sena Irie. The local favorite advanced following a split decision win over Maria Claudia Nechita (Romania).
Irie was awarded scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28. Nechita—who eliminated Somalia's celebrated featherweight Ramla Ali from competition on Monday—was awarded scores of 29-28 and 29-28 as she falls just short of medaling for Romania.
Nesthy Petecio continues her storybook run on the road to an Olympic medal. The first quarterfinal bout of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics ends with Philippines' Petecio defeating Colombia's Yeni Marcela Arias by unanimous decision to advance to the final four of the women's featherweight bracket.
Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 for Petecio, whose three tournament wins including her eliminating number-one seed Yu-Ting Lin (South Korea) on Monday to advance to this point.
Petecio has grown accustomed to dictating the pace in each of her two wins earlier in competition. The Filipino southpaw found herself playing the role of boxer and counterpuncher, however, against the naturally aggressive Arias who threw every punch with knockout intentions.
Petecio was able to land enough left hands and avoid any damaging shots in return to sweep the opening round. Arias successfully cut off the ring and forced Petecio on the defensive in a second round that saw three of the five judges score in favor of the Colombian.
With the fight on the table, Arias constantly charged forward in the third and final round. It led to frequent clinches and soft warnings from referee Simali Mokretari to both fighters to keep it clean. Arias landed an overhand right in the final minute while Petecio was the busier fighter.
Activity won out, with four of the five judges scoring the final round for Petecio, who becomes the first ever female featherweight to advance to the medal round of the Olympics.
Petecio will next face Italy's Testa, who proved too much for Canada's Caroline Veyre in a lopsided unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Testa is the only Italian female boxer to compete in the Olympics, having advanced to the quarterfinals of 2016 Rio only to lose to eventual Gold medalist Estelle Mossely. Experience has proven valuable for Testa, whose height and natural strength has proven troublesome for the featherweight field.
The tall and lean Italian boxed at times, keeping Veyre at the end of her long jab though also landed several clean right hands in a dominant opening round. Testa never strayed from the script, jabbing from the outside and following with clean lefts to keep Veyre at bay.
Veyre enjoyed a better round three, though needed a knockout to win by that point. It never came close to happening, as Testa extends a brilliant run that including her ousting number-two seed Michaela Walsh (Ireland) two nights ago.
Both semifinal bouts will take place Saturday afternoon (local time). The winners will meet for the first ever Olympic featherweight Gold medal on August 3.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox