Roniel Iglesias could not have picked a better time to even up his rivalry with Andrei Zamkovoi.
The four-time Olympian and three-time medalist for Cuba advances to the final round after outclassing Zamkovoi (ROC) in their welterweight semifinal Sunday evening at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 in favor of Iglesias, who will go on to face Great Britain's Pat McCormack in the Gold medal round.
The semifinal pairing was the fourth between the two, having last met in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 World Amateur Championships. Zamkovoi won the fight and went on to claim top honors in the tournament, running his record to 2-1 in their long-standing rivalry.
Iglesias opened the fight clearly with revenge on his mind. The supremely skilled Cuban southpaw was busier, more accurate and too defensive savvy for Zamkovoi, who ended the round with a cut over his left eye and an early hole from which he could not dig his way out.
Iglesias upped the pressure in round two, shooting his jab at Zamkovoi's cut eye and also working the body well. Zamkovoi bit down and began to trade, doing his best to try to turn the tide.
That moment for the ROC athlete would not come until the third and final round. By that point, Zamkovoi was too far down on the scorecards for it to make a difference. He needed a knockout or at least a landslide round in order to prevail, which Iglesias would never allow. The Cuban fought well enough to pose fits for Zamkovoi but smart enough to not get caught with anything big.
Iglesias contributes to Cuba's incredible success in Tokyo. The team as a whole is 12-0 after his victory, with Iglesias having already tied records by making his fourth Olympic appearance and winning his third medal.
He now goes for Gold, against the number one seed in McCormack who advanced via walkover when Ireland's Aidan Walsh was unable to participate due to an ankle injury.
Iglesias-McCormack will take place August 3.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox