Richard Torrez Jr. righted the ship for the U.S. Olympic Boxing team.
Less than 20 minutes after watching Troy Isley eliminated from middleweight competition, Torrez stormed into the super heavyweight quarterfinals following a three-round shutout of Algeria's Chaouib Bouloudinats.
Scores were 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 and 30-25 in favor of Torres, who dropped Bouloudinats in the opening round to set up the landslide win Thursday at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo.
Torrez—the U.S. team captain and the number-three seed at super heavyweight—entered the fight with the reputation of a heavy-handed puncher. The Tulare, California native lived up to that scouting report, flooring Bouloudinats with a left hand to the body midway through the opening round.
The rest of the bout was spent with Torrez picking apart Bouloudinats, a three-time Olympian who has lost in the opening round each time out. History repeated itself, with the 34-year-old Algerian hopelessly outgunned.
Torrez becomes the first U.S. super heavyweight to advance to the quarterfinals since 2004, when Jason Estrada managed the feat before being eliminated in competition by that point.
Awaiting Torres in the Elite Eight is a rare first-time Cuban Olympian in Dainier Pero, who outclassed Colombia's Cristian Salcedo. The 21-year-old Pero—whose older brother and current pro Lenier represented Cuba in 2016—won by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28.
Bakhodir Jalolov (Uzbekistan) advanced to the quarterfinal round with relative ease, as the number-one seed at super heavyweight manhandled Mahammad Abdullayev (Azerbaijan) en route to a three-round shutout win.
Scores were 30-27 on four scorecards and 30-26 on the fifth card. A full recap of the Round of 16 matchup can be found here: https://www.boxingscene.com/bakhodir-jalolov-outclasses-mahammad-abdullayev-storms-into-super-heavyweight-quarterfinals-tokyo--159457
Jalolov will next face Satish Kumar (India), who beat Ricardo Brown (Jamaica) via split decision. Kumar won every round on four cards (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-26) while Brown won 29-28 on one card in a fight low on action and long on grappling.
Great Britain has won a medal at super heavyweight in every Olympics where the nation has sent a divisional representative (1984, 2000, 2008, 2012). Frazer Clarke aims to carry on that tradition, taking the first step after decisioning Tsotne Rogava (Ukraine).
Scores were in favor of Clarke, who will face number-four seed Mourad Aliev (France). The matchup was set after Aliev easily cruised past the stocky Siyovush Zukhurov (Tajikistan) to win every round on all three scorecards (30-27, 30-27, 30-27, 30-25, 30-25).
Ivan Veriasov (ROC) made it a perfect 8-0 for the ROC men's team following a three-round decision win over Maxime Yegnong (Cameroon). Veriasov won by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28 to give ROC its seventh overall quarterfinalist (seven men, one woman).
Veriasov will have to get past number-two seed Kamshybek Kunkabayev (Kazakhstan) in order to extend the perfect run for ROC athletes. Kunkabayev advances following a three-round shutout of Yousry Hafez (Egypt). All five judges scored the contest 30-27 for the Kazakh southpaw.
All four bouts in the quarterfinal round will take place Sunday. The winners move on to the super heavyweight semi-finals and are guaranteed a medal.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox