In the early session of light welterweight action, the fans were entertained by a matchup of experienced, accomplished southpaws – Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo of Cuba and Everton dos Santos Lopes of Brazil.
Lopes, a member of the Brazilian Navy, went into the Olympic boxing tournament rated #3 by AIBA, and that was understandable, since he is indeed the defending world champion in this weight class. Iglesias, curiously, was unranked and unseeded, despite the fact that he was a bronze medalist from the 2008 Olympics and the only member of the Cuban team that was a repeat Olympic contestant.
Both of these guys are slick and smart. And they weren’t taking a lot of unnecessary chances early, though one could not accuse the action of being dull. It appeared as though Iglesias might hold something of the style advantage, since when these two met before, in the Pan Am Games, Iglesias came out on the long end of an 18-9 decision. While Lopez showed a little more in the way of pure boxing ability, and was proficient in his side-to-side movement, Iglesias was finding some room by picking his spots, and took the edge 4-3 at the end of the first round.
His strategy stepped up in the second stanza, as Iglesias continued to move forward and land shots. he did get knocked to the canvas, though, after Lopez landed a good straight left, followed by a right hand to the top of the head. It was not ruled a knockdown, though clearly it was, and the second was scored 9-6 in favor of Iglesias, and even though Lopes got a little more aggressive and seemed to do better for himself in the final round (indeed winning by a 6-5 count), it was too little, too late. the final tally was 18-15 for Iglesias.
This was certainly a bout between two guys who knew what they were doing. And it was considered something of an upset, although that was something that was more a product of perception than anything else. Iglesias, after all, has established Olympic credentials, has won gold at the World Championships and the Pan Am Games, and in the latter tournament produced a win over Lopes, but somehow he was not seeded in this tourney, while Lopez had been accorded the #1 seed.
Iglesias will now go up against Uktamjon Rahmonov of Uzbekistan in a quarterfinal match. Rahmonov defeated Yakup Sener 16-8 in another afternoon contest.