Bakhodir Jalolov sent a message to the rest of the super heavyweight field.
The hulking 6'7" southpaw from Uzbekistan charged into the quarterfinal round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics following a one-sided drubbing of Azerbaijan's Mahammad Abdullayev.
Jalolov scored a standing eight count in round two and thoroughly outboxed and outfought Abdullayev to win by scores of Thursday afternoon at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
The opening round saw Jalolov—who is currently 8-0 (8KOs) as a pro under Hall of Fame promoter Lou DiBella and tireless manager Vadim Kornilov—use his height and reach to keep Abdullayev at the end of his long jab while bouncing on his toes. Jalolov would move Abdullayev into range to drop his left hand, which occurred often throughout the one-sided affair.
A perfectly timed left hand on the inside wobbled Abdullayev with roughly one minute to go in round two, producing a standing eight count. Jalolov continued to dial up the pressure from there, though never to the point of trying to force a knockout.
It leads to the number-one seed remaining intact at super heavyweight, with Jalolov to next fight Sunday in the quarterfinal round. A win will put the towering Uzbek into the semifinals, with his next fight scheduled for Sunday. A win means an automatic medal, though the expectation is to bring home Gold.
Uzbekistan is now 7-4 in Tokyo—slightly off pace from its impressive run in 2016 Rio where they led all nations with seven medals in boxing competition. Jalolov is one of two Uzbeks now in the quarterfinals, joining welterweight Bobo-Usmon Baturov who faces Great Britain's Pat McCormack—the bracket's number-one seed—on Thursday.
Jalolov is one of four pro fighters on the 2020 Uzbekistan Olympic boxing team, though only two still remain in competition. 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Shakhobidin Zoirov is in the Round of 16 at flyweight looking to repeat, while number-one seeded featherweight Mirazizbek Murzakhalilov and heavyweight Sanjar Tursunov both lost their first bouts of the tournament.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox