By Sudiptu Ganguly
TOKYO (Reuters) – World heavyweight boxing champion Muslim Gadzhimagomedov’s bid to add an Olympic gold to his resume got off to a convincing start on Tuesday prior New Zealand’s David Nika suffered his first-ever attempt to be bitten by his Moroccan rival.
Two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Nika comfortably won the first two rounds, leaving frustrated Yunus Baala to try to dig his teeth into his rival’s ear during a layover in the final round.
Nyika was competent to pull out in time and later earned a unanimous points triumph.
“I have forever supported myself and supported the people around me to hoist my strength,” Nika said. “I know I can do distinguished things. I have every intention of being on top of that podium.”
Competing in Tokyo as a representative of the Russian Olympic Committee because the country has been stripped of its flag and anthem over doping offenses, Gadzhimagomedov is the likely favorite to add the Tokyo gold to his 2019 world title.
He took a few seconds to measure his veteran Algerian rival Abdelhafid Benchebla but gave a dominant performance following that.
Gadzhimagomedov’s heavy punches left the Punchbla in a bind, forcing his right hook from the 34-year-old Russian to fall to his knee and confront the eighth count of the referee.
Britain’s Pat McCormack, the top seed in men’s welterweight, also had a comfortable match against Belarusian Alexander Radzionau and advanced to the quarter-finals with a 5-0 triumph.
McCormack, whose twin brother Luke also reached the quarter-finals in the lightweight class, will meet Bobo-Osmon Batorov.
“I just saw him triumph the first round. He’s a pleasing fighter but if I was at my level, I’d beat him,” said McCormack, who will turn pro following the Games.
“I felt like she was comfortable today. It was a bit messy at times but I won easily. I am happy to be number one. I forever get to the rankings in tournaments so hopefully I can get to her in this tournament and bring that gold medal home.”
Turkey’s world welterweight champion and top seed Businaz Sormenelli was too powerful for Karolina Koszywska of Poland during her 5-0 triumph.
Taiwan’s Chen Nian Chen, the welterweight title winner in 2018, also advanced with a 3-2 triumph over Italian Angela Carini in the final round of the day’s opening session. (Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Ed Osmond)