Sunday, June 04, 2023  |


Antonio Vargas drops bout on his birthday, fails to advance to quarters

Fighters Network
Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

Photo courtesy of USA Boxing

USA’s Antonio Vargas didn’t exactly celebrate his 20th birthday on Monday like he had hoped while Ireland’s Katie Taylor was upset in another case of the Monday blues.

Vargas dropped a unanimous decision against Uzbekistan’s Shakhobidin Zoirov in a flyweight preliminary Round of 16 match in Monday’s morning session, and USA Boxing fell to 9-4 overall in Rio with a bronze medal.

Vargas lost by scores of 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 as he was unable to find his timing and rhythm until the third round against Zoirov, who advances to the quarterfinals on Wednesday against Azerbaijan’s Elvin Mamishzada. The U.S. men have already surpassed the 2012 London team, which failed to medal and posted only five wins.

While Vargas was deprived of a chance to celebrate on his birthday, Taylor was denied a chance to medal. In a stunning upset, Taylor, the defending Olympic lightweight champion, was ousted by unheralded Finland’s Mira Potkonen by scores of 39-37, 37-39, 38-38 in the quarterfinals on Monday.

The final judge, Clemente Carillo of Ecuador was required to determine the winner and she picked Potkonen, who was winless in five previous bouts against Taylor. Potkonen advances to Wednesday’s semifinals against China’s Yin Junhua.

In the afternoon session, USA’s Mikaela Mayer also lost her women’s lightweight quarterfinal to Russia’s Anastasia Beliakova by scores of 39-37, 39-37 while the third judge had the bout even at 38-38.

U.S. coach Billy Wash was upset with the scoring, believing his charge had won. Mayer won at least one round on all the judge’s scorecards. “To be honest, I’ve just had a look at the judging. It was crazy,” Walsh told reporters, according to Reuters. “Are they looking at the same bloody fight or what? Her performance was excellent, she gave everything she had … I thought she did enough to win it.”