Two-time Olympian Galal Yafai (Great Britain) delivered a masterclass performance in a third-round stoppage of Koryan Soghomonyan (Armenia). Yafai—whose brothers Kal (former WBA junior bantamweight champion) and Gamal are pro boxers—was credited with standing eight counts in all three rounds, the last of which produced the end at 1:54 of round three.
Full story of Yafai's win can be found here: https://www.boxingscene.com/galal-yafai-stops-koryan-soghomonyan-three-advances-round-16-tokyo--159393
Yafai will next face Patrick Chinyemba (Zambia), who advanced to the Round of 16 following a split decision win over Alex Winwood (Australia). One judge had the bout 29-28 for Winwood, overruled by scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 for Chinyemba, whose bout with Yafai takes place Saturday.
Yoel Finol will not get to repeat his medal run from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist from Venezuela was dealt the misfortune of landing an opening round match with Ryomei Tanaka of hosting nation Japan, dropping a three-round unanimous decision Monday morning at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 in favor of Tanaka, continuing a trend for Japanese boxers who've yet to lose on a single scorecard.
The bout was tightly contested throughout, but with Finol unable to make his presence felt as was the case in Rio. The Venezuelan southpaw had to deal with the heavy-handed Tanaka—the older brother of former three-division titlist Kosei Tanaka—along with a hair malfunction as time was called twice for his stray twists to be secured after becoming undone.
A pro career is likely next in store for Finol, whose brother-in-law was Edwin Valero. The late, disgraced former junior lightweight champion murdered Finol's sister (Valero's wife at the time) and then committed suicide after being arrested for the heinous crime.
In a moving statement earlier this year, Finol revealed that he forgave Valero and moved past the horrific murder, if only for his own peace of mind.
Meanwhile, Tanaka moves to the Round of 16 as he will next face Hu Jianguan (China), who outboxed Sakhil Alakhverdovi (Georgia). Jianguan boxed from the outside and outworked Alakhverdovi to sweep every round on all five scorecards (30-27 across the board).
Saken Bibossinov (Kazakhstan) managed a split decision win over Yankiel Rivera (Puerto Rico) in their opening round battle of southpaws. Bibossinov was rocked in the closing seconds of the fight but remained upright to sail through to the next round after winning by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 on four of the five cards.
Rivera won 29-28 on the dissenting card, as the one-man Puerto Rico boxing team heads home. Bibossinov will next face number-two seed Billal Bennama (France) in the Round of 16 on Saturday.
Daniel Panev Asenov (Bulgaria) claimed a three-round, unanimous decision win over Cosmin-Petre Girleanu (Romania) in a spirited battle. In the end, all five judges (30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28) preferred the work put in by Asenov in allowing him to advance in competition.
Asenov will next face Gabriel Escobar (Spain), who earned a three-round unanimous decision win over Ramon Quiroga (Argentina). Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 all in favor of Escobar, who is the first Spanish boxer to advance in Tokyo.
Brendan Irvine (Ireland) suffered his second consecutive opening round exit from Olympic competition. The Belfast native—who was ousted by eventual Gold medalist Shakhobidin Zoirov in 2016 Rio—dropped a split decision to Carlo Paalam (Philippines) in once again failing to advance to the Round of 16.
Paalam won by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, while Irvine won 29-28 on the dissenting scorecard.
Irvine had a hard time fending off the straightforward Paalam, who jumped out to an early lead and never really took his foot off the gas. The closest that Paalam came to facing adversity was when he was warned for holding in the third and final round.
Paalam will next face number-four seed Mohammed Flissi (Algeria) on Saturday.
Yuberjen Herney Martinez (Colombia) kicked off Day 3 of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a three-round, unanimous decision win over Rajab Otukile Mahommed (Botswana) in their opening round flyweight bout. All five judges awarded every round to Martinez, who won 30-27 on four cards and 30-25 on one card.
Martinez advances to the Round of 16, where he will face number-one seed Amit Panghal (India) on Saturday.
Sulemanu Tetteh (Ghana) erased an early deficit to earn a split decision win over Rodrigo Marte (Dominican Republic). Tetteh won by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27, while Marte landed scores of 29-28 on two cards though not enough to advance.
Tetteh never stopped coming forward, particularly in rounds two and three. A stream of overhand rights was enough to discourage Marte and eventually prove the difference on three of the five scorecards. Tetteh will next face number-three seed Yosbany Veitia (Cuba) on Saturday.
Shakhobidin Zoirov (Uzbekistan) looks to repeat as Olympic Gold medalist in the flyweight division. The 28-year-old southpaw is off to a good start after shutting out Turkey's Batuhan Ciftci by scores of 30-26 (x3) and 30-27 (x2). Full recap can be found here: https://www.boxingscene.com/shakhobidin-zoirov-outpoints-bathuan-ciftci-advances-pursuit-second-olympic-gold-medal--159385
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox