Monday, May 29, 2023  |



Nico Hernandez drops semifinal bout, leaves Rio with bronze medal

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

USA’s Nico Hernandez and his Cinderella ride through the light flyweight division at the Rio Games ended with a bronze medal on Friday against Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov.

Despite a spirited, aggressive effort, Hernandez dropped a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 against Dusmatov, whose pin-point counters and expert boxing ability allowed him to move on to the finals while Hernandez will take home bronze.

USA’s Carlos Balderas fought next, dropping a unanimous decision by scores of 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 in a lightweight quarterfinal to Cuba’s top-seeded Lazaro Alvarez to leave Rio empty-handed. USA Boxing has now dropped to 6-3 overall in Rio.

In the evening session, USA Boxing’s Mikaela Mayer won a unanimous decision against Micronesia’s Jennifer Chieng by way of Brooklyn by scores of 40-35, 40-35 and 39-27 in America’s first female bout to reach the lightweight quarterfinals.

Dusmatov will meet Colombia’s Yurberjen Herney Martinez, who upset Cuba’s Joahnys Argilagos with a split decision victory in the other light flyweight semifinal. Argilagos also takes home bronze for losing in the semifinals, along with Hernandez, who wins a medal for USA Boxing men for the first time since 2008, when Deontay Wilder also took home bronze.

The southpaw Dusmatov found success with a short, quick counter left-hook in the first round over the guard of Hernandez. The taller American did better in the second round, landing his jab, but Dusmatov still had the cleaner shots, landing flush whipping lefts and rights. Hernandez picked up the pace in the third round, moving forward and digging shots to the body and head.

But his assault was interrupted when a physician examined a cut over Hernandez’s left eye midway through the third round, taking over a minute. AIBA ruled that male boxers would box without head gear for these Olympics Games, increasing the chances for cuts. The bout was allowed to continue and Hernandez kept up the pressure, while Dusmatov was content to box and move away and land the occasional thudding counter. The 20-year-old Hernandez had already clinched at least a bronze medal in a quarterfinal win against Ecuador’s Carlos Eduardo Quipo Palaxti on Wednesday.