Joshua leads Brit pack into boxing semis

Lithuanian Petrauskas pulled off an upset win over Valentino

Super heavyweight Anthony Joshua became the fourth British boxer to reach the Olympic boxing semi-finals on Monday and said the hunger for medals in London is driving on the home team.

The 22-year-old Joshua, who only took up boxing four years ago, faces Kazakhstan's Ivan Dychko in Friday's semi-final as he joins middleweight Anthony Ogogo, bantamweight Luke Campbell and flyweight Nicola Adams in the last four.

Welterweight Fred Evans and flyweight Andrew Selby, who both have quarter-finals on Tuesday, plus lightwelter Tom Stalker who fights Wednesday, are also bidding to reach the semi-finals in their divisions.

"I don't want to get too head-over-heels until it's done, it's a tough game in there and anything can happen," said Joshua, after putting China's Zhang Zhilei on the canvas in the second during his 15-11 quarter-final win.

"Everyone is hungry, everyone wants to do well," said Joshua, who is already guaranteed a bronze medal. "I'll be out again to hopefully change that colour to hopefully get a gold medal."

Favourite Magomedrasul Medzhidov, who beat Joshua to the world title in Baku last year, has reached the other semi-final and the Azerbaijani will face Italy's Roberto Cammarelle.

Earlier, Ogogo, who beat world champion Ievgen Khytrov in the previous round, set up a middleweight semi-final against Brazil's Esquiva Falcao after his 15-10 last-eight win over Germany's Stefan Hartel.

In the other middleweight semi on Friday, Uzbekistan's Abbos Atoev faces Japan's Ryota Murata after Atoev's 17-13 victory over India's Vijender Singh, who failed in his bid to claim a second straight Olympic bronze.

Murata is aiming to end his country's 48-year wait for a gold in the ring having become the first Japanese boxer since the 1968 Mexico Olympics to win a medal with a 17-13 win over Turkey's Adem Kilicci.

In the lightweight category, world champion Vasyl Lomachenko, the Ukrainian featherweight gold medal winner at Beijing 2008, booked his semi-final berth with a 14-9 win over Puerto Rico's Felix Sanchez.

In Friday's other semi-final, Lomachenko will fight Cuba's Yasnier Toledo in a rematch of last year's world championships lightweight final after the Cuban's comfortable 19-11 win over Kazakhstan's Gani Zhailauov.

"He's a dangerous rival, with good speed. He's fiery, but I've studied him a lot and I know that I can win," said Toledo.

Rising 20-year-old Lithuanian star Evaldas Petrauskas pulled off the first upset of the night with a 16-14 lightweight win over 2009 world champion Domenico Valentino of Italy.

"My hero is Mike Tyson and I hope one day to be as powerful as he was," said Petrauskas, the 2010 Youth Olympic champion.

"Since I started boxing at seven this has been my dream and I am pretty sure the whole of Lithuania is cheering for me."

With Petrauskas is something of an unknown quantity, his semi-final opponent Han Soon-Chul of South Korea admitted he would have preferred to face Valentino after his 16-13 quarter-final win over Uzbekistan's Fazliddin Gaibnazarov.


 

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