Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |



Carlos Balderas wins to reach quarterfinals, U.S. moves to 4-0

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

Don’t call it a comeback for Team USA.

Carlos Balderas moved USA Boxing to a perfect 4-0 in the Rio Games on Tuesday with a unanimous decision victory against Japan’s Daisuke Narimatsu in a lightweight bout to move on to the quarterfinals.

Balderas, who won by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, will step up in class on Friday when he faces Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez, a bronze medal winner in the 2012 London Games as a bantamweight. A win for Balderas would give him and Team USA a bronze medal in that weight class for the first time since the 1996 Atlanta Games when Terrance Cauthen did it. As it has been throughout these Games, an American boxer, this time Balderas, was booed during his match.

Still, it’s been a good past several days for Balderas, a native of Santa Maria, California. He turned 20 last Thursday and won his first match on Saturday. USA Boxing has won just a single medal in the past two Olympic Games with Deontay Wilder’s bronze in 2008. The last U.S. boxer to win twice and reach the quarterfinals in an Olympiad was Errol Spence Jr. in 2012, who failed to medal.

Now, Balderas, who had success with counters and digging body shots on Tuesday, can begin to change the sorry narrative that’s surrounded USA Boxing with an upset win on Friday.

“The guy was physically a lot stronger than me,” he said in a press release. “He kept coming and I noticed that he was taking all of my punches, he has a good chin so I couldn’t just tap and move. I had to find my way off of him or he would have been on me the whole fight. I noticed that his style was very awkward, he would fight with his head a little more forward than his body. So what I started doing was feinting a lot and I started using my speed a lot more because he was a lot slower than me.”

Alvarez also won by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 on Tuesday over Italy’s Carmine Tommasone, a 32-year-old with a professional record of 15-0 (4 knockouts). Tommasone last fought as a pro in September of last year, winning a unanimous decision against Jon Slowey in Italy, where Tommasone has fought his entire career.