Olympic Preview – Welterweight

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Matt Donnellan’s Olympic countdown continues with the welterweight division.

69kg sees Ireland represented by Steven Donnelly. The Ballymena man beat Adam Nolan 2-1 and John Joe Joyce in 2014. He lost to Jangra in the 2014 Commonwealth but also won against the very good Custio Clayton. In the WSB he won five in a row including beating Palmetta before losing 2-1 to Maestre. He has since lost to Basckai and is now recovered from hand surgery.

Other Qualifiers:

Andrey Zamkovoy (Russia). Defeated Adam Nolan in London on the way to Olympic bronze and Willie McLaughlin in 2009 at the Worlds where he won silver. He has defeated Byamba and Sipal among others. In the APB he lost to Sipal and Okwiri but won over Stanionis, Kate and more.
Major Honours: Olympic Games bronze (2012), World Championships silver (2009)

Parviz Baghirov (Azerbaijan). Lost to Eleussinov in the Worlds and has also lost to Mangiacapre. Has beaten Stanionis, Zamkovoy, Iglesias, Donnelly.
Major Honours: European Games gold (2015), World Championships bronze (2015).

Liu Wei (China). Recent World bronze medalist. Beat Stanionis and Byambyn but lost to Jangra, Rabii, and Eleussinov.
Major Honours: World Championships bronze (2015).

Byambyn Tüvshinbat (Mongolia). London Olympian and has a win over Sipal and a loss to Zamkovoy. He lost to Wei in Doha. Won Asian bronze last year, losing to Eleussinov and lost to Ardee in the qualifiers but beat Marcial in playoff.
Major Honours: At light welterweight – Asian Championships silver (2007)
At welterweight – Asian Championships bronze (2015, 2011), World University Games bronze (2013)

Alberto Palmetta (Argentina). Lost to Donnelly in the WSB. Beat Meastre to win American Championships bronze before losing to Iglesias who also beat him in the PanAm Games, both in 2015. Lost to Rabii in the Worlds but got third place in the American qualifiers with Iglesias beating him again!
Major Honours: PanAmerican Games silver (2015), American Championships bronze (2015, 2013).

Gabriel Maestre (Venezeula). An in-and–out performer. A quarter finalist at the London Olympics, he beat Bacskai and Besputin of Russia on the way to 2013 World bronze. Lost to Iglesias in the 2015 qualifier final but had beaten him in the final of the PanAm games. Lost to Palmetta in the PanAm championship, to Stanionis in the Worlds, but beat Donnelly 2-1 in the WSB. Maestre showed up well recently in Cuba, defeating Cissokho in Cardin tourney.
Major Honours: World Championships bronze (2013), American Championships silver (2013) and bronze (2015), PanAmerican Games gold (2015)

Rayton Okwiri (Kenya). A veteran who won the African qualifier. In the APB lost to Sipal but surprised Zamkovov. Lost to Kate but defeated Stanionis. Won against Anas Messaoudi 3:0 in the final. Has also defeated Filipino Eumir Felix Marcial.
Major Honours: African Games bronze (2011).

Walid Saidik (Egypt). Hae lost to Rabii and Okwiri in the main African events and to Marcial in the Worlds. No chance.
Major Honours: African Championships silver (2015)

Zohir Kedache (Algeria). Lost to Sedik in the qualifiers, lucky man to be at the Games!
Major Honours: None

Roniel Iglesias (Cuba). An Olympic champion and 2009 World gold winner. Beat Mangiacapre, Palmetta, Zamkovoy, but lost to Rabii in the WSB and Maestre in the PanAms. He also surprisingly lost to Bagirov at the Doha Worlds but beat Palmetta and Maestre to win the American qualifier.
Major Honours: At light welterweight – Olympic gold (2012) and bronze (2008), World Championships gold (2009), American Championships gold (2008, 2009, 2010), PanAmerican Games gold (2011).
At welterweight – American Championships gold (2015), PanAmerican Games silver (2015).

Daniyar Eleussinov (Kazakhstan). Lost to Ray Moylette as far back as 2008 in the World Youth final. He also lost at the London Games to Mangiacapre and to Stanionis in 2013 but that same year won World and Asian gold. Jangra, Despaigne and Mangiacapre fell along the way. Byamba, Marcial, Liu Wei, and Bagirov were other recent victims and at the 2015 Worlds he won silver, Rabii beating him in the final. Beat Cissokho and Stanionis (2-1) at this year’s GeeBee tourney.
Major Honours: At light welterweight – Asian Games gold (2010).
At welterweight: World Championships gold (2013) and silver (2015), Asian Championships gold (2013, 2015), Asian Games gold (2014).

Mohammed Rabii (Morocco). Africa’s best hope of a Gold. The WSB #1 and the World and African champion. Iglesias, Wei, Eleussinov, and Palmetta have all been vanquished recently. Iglesias did beat him in 2014. He has also recently lost a WSB bout to American Paul Kroll.
Major Honours: World Championships gold 2015), African Championships gold (2015).

Onur Şipal (Turkey). Lost to John Joe Joyce as far back as 2006. Adam Nolan beat him last year at the European Championships. Qualified through the APB where he beat Okwiri, Stanionis, Zamkolov, Kate and Larazev. He recently lost to Makhmudov and Bacskai and Zamkoyov. Stopped a young Carl Frampton in the inaugural Euro Schoolboys in 2003.
Major Honours: World University Games bronze(2010)

Sailom Ardee (Thailand). Has boxed in six World championships and two Olympic Games! New lease of life at 30, beat Byamba and lost to Giyasov in the Asian qualifier. He lost to Marcial at the Asian Games and Sissokho of Spain at the Worlds.
Major Honours: None

Shakhram Giyasov (Uzbekistan). The Uzbek champ and World University Champion, bit of an unknown. He lost to Karibian of Russia recently in the WSB .Beat Marcial and Ardee to win Asian qualifier.
Major Honours: World University Championships gold (2014)

Vincenzo Mangiacapre (Italy). Won bronze in London, beating Eleussinov and Kate but losing to Iglesias. Beat Baigirov at the 2013 Worlds but then lost to Eleussinov. European championship silver 2015 at 64kg and a regular on the WSB circuit. Vincenzo failed at 64 in the Worlds so moved to 69 for the Euro qualifiers, beating Bacskai, Margaryan before losing the final to Stanionis.
Major Honours: At light welterweight – Olympic Games bronze (2012), World Championships bronze (2009), European Championships silver (2015) and bronze (2011), European Games silver (2015), EU Championships gold (2014)

Vladimir Margaryan (Armenia). Lost to Cissokho in 2015 but after losing to Mangiacapre, he beat Belous in the European playoffs to gain an unexpected place.
Major Honours: None.

Eimantas Stanionis (Lithuania). The European champion, beating Bacskai and Sissokho. Lost in APB to Sipal, Okwiri and Zamkovoy but defeated Kate. Beat Adam Nolan 2-1 in the worlds as well as Maestre but lost to Wei.
Major Honours: European Championships gold (2015).

Josh Kelly (Britain). Got the better of Adam Nolan 2-1 in the European Games of 2015 and then lost out to Baghirov. Samofalov, Cissokho, Rabbii, all have wins over Kelly but he has defeated Kastramin.
Major Honours: European Games bronze (2015).

Simeon Chamov (Bulgaria). A perennial challenger and the European Union champion, defeating John Joe Joyce 2-1 en route. Beat Samofalov but lost to Cissokho in the World qualifier. Wins include Wei, Sipal, Stanionis, and his losses contain the names of Iglesias, Marutjan, Stanionis, Sissokho, Gaipov and Eleussinov.
Major Honours: EU Championships gold (2014).

Arajik Marutjan (Germany). Won his place by defeating the decent American Krool in the APB/WSB decider. He claimed World
bronze in 2013 defeating Fred Evans, Sipal and Chamov before losing to Eleussinov. The German also won Euro silver the same year. Other wins include Kostromin, Nolan and Margaryan plus a 2-1 Chemistry Cup decision over Rabii this year (in Germany). Defeats came via Bacskai and Wei.
Major Honours: World Championships bronze (2013), European Championships silver (2013).

Pavel Kostromin (Belarus). Was the runner-up to Stanionis in the European Championships, defeating Nolan 3-0 on the way. Other Irish victims were Thurles Moran in 2012 and Donnelly 3-0 in 2014. He has tasted defeat against fellow Rio bound boxers Marutjan and Kelly but has a good victory over Cissokho and in February this year defeated Giyasov.
Major Honours: European Championships silver (2015).

Imre Bacskai (Hungary). Was winning against the likes of Mangiacapre as far back as 2006, in 2009 he beat Willie McLaughlin and in 2014 lost on a split to Michael O’Reilly. In February of this season he beat Donnelly 3-0 in the WSB. Marutyan, and Sipal are other recent scalps. Stanionis, Cissokho, Maestre, are listed in the few boxers to have defeated the Hungarian, Maestre gaining revenge for an earlier loss.
Major Honours: At middleweight – EU Championships bronze (2009).
At welterweight – European Championships gold (2010), EU Championships gold (2009).

Juan Pablo Romero (Mexico). A qualifier from the final APB/WSB affair where he surprised Cissokho and then won the final on a walk over. Teixeira, Iglesias and Mangiacapre have all defeated him as has Toledo Lopez from Cuba in the WSB where he was the 2012 individual champ. He beat Sam Maxwell in the WSB and could be anything.
Major Honours: None

Winston Hill (Fiji). A tripartite selection and I’m afraid also a no-hoper.
Major Honours: South Pacific Games silver (2015).

Souleymaney Cissokho (France). Not to be confused with Sissokho of Spain, another Rio bound 69kg fighter. He has his share of wins and losses on the circuit. He got the nod over Nolan (2-1) in 2013, also Margaryan and split decisions with Sissokho. Losses were endured against Chamov and Eleussinov, but he hit a rich vein of form at the World qualifiers in Baku. Here he took gold beating Chamov, Bacski and Kelly.
Major Honours: EU Championships bronze (2014)

Youba Sissokho (Spain). Is improving, despite suffering early career defeats to Cissokho, Samofalov and several others. He has racked up wins over Chamov, Ardee and Jangra and losses to Kostromin and Stanionis. Beat Goyat of India in an APB/WSB box off to win his seat, earlier beating Bogachuk from the Ukraine but losing to Romero. Adam Nolan beat him 2-1 last year but he beat Cissokho and Bacskai that same season.
Major Honours: None

Matt’s Picks
Gold should rest between Rabii, Eleusinov, Iglesias and Mangiacapre in what is not a vintage weight class. Giyasov could surprise and Donnelly is as good as any of the rest and is fresh – but needs some 3×3 action.

1 – Iglesias
2 – Eleussinov
3 – Rabii
4 – Mangiacapre
5 – Giyasov
6 – Zamkoyov
7 – Wei
8 – Baghirov
9 – Donnelly
10 – Maestre

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie