by Charles Jay
Joseph Diaz Jr., known to many American boxing audiences as “Jo-Jo,” reached the Round of 16 in the Olympic boxing competition at the ExCel South Arena in London.
Diaz, fighting the first bout of the Games, dazzled Pavlo Ischchenko of the Ukraine by beating him to the punch consistently and dominated the third round of the bout in particular. He won a 19-9 decision on the judges’ cards.
Diaz said he studied his opponent on YouTube after the draw to have a good idea about who he was fighting. As he told reporters, “I just realised this guy is human just like me, he sweats, he bleeds and he’s nervous just like me so I’ve got to do what I do, and I ended up pulling the ‘W’ (win).”
Diaz now has to go up against top seed Lazaro Alvarez Estrada of Cuba, the defending world champion, in the next round of competition.
John Joe Nevin of Ireland also advanced rather easily, defeating Dennis Ceylan of Denmark 21-6. Nevin, who is ranked #4 in the world by AIBA, is the highest-rated boxer in the weight class who did not get a first-round bye.
Nevin, who suffered a broken jaw earlier in the year, prompting some people to wonder whether he would be rusty for the Games, was dazzling in his movement and even began to showboat in the last round. He’ll face Kanat Abutalipov in the next round of competition.
Also, Sergey Vodopiyanov of Russia won a 12-5 decision over Alberto Ezequiel Melian of Argentina, while Orzubek Shaymov of Uzbekistan, ranked #18 in the world, easily defeated Robenilson Vieira de Jesus of Brazil 13-7. Kanat Abutalipov of Kazakhstan won a 15-7 decision over Syria’s Wessam Slamana, and Oscar Valdez Fierro of Mexico was much busier in the first and third rounds in beating India’s Shiva Thapa 14-9.