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Day 2 at the Dakar Arena sees another 12 bouts, with a busy weekend of action ahead. Today's action begins in one hour, with the opening round of bouts in the women's featherweight and men's lightweight divisions.The men in action today will have to win four bouts to guarantee their place in Tokyo this summer, the women will have to win three.
Among those in action today are Matar Sambou, representing Senegal, who moved to the UK five years ago after a chance meeting with David Haye, where he had two professional bouts. Also boxing tonight is Algeria's Yahia Abdelli, who won a gold medal at the 2015 World Military Games.
Further down this blog you will see videos featuring Abdul Wahid Omar and Ramla Ali, who have their opening bouts tonight.
There are also two boxers from Uganda in action today. They had they final training camp at Luzira Maximum Security Prison in Kampala, which houses Uganda's death row inmates.
20 Feb - 15 Mar 2020
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Qualification Tournaments
Dakar, Amman, London, Buenos Aires, Paris
Ibrahima Diallo (Guinea): "I'm feeling good. My fight was very tough. I wasn't physically good today, but my technique gave me the win.I'm young, I'm fast, my secret is God and training. I train in Belgium, I competed for Belgium in the World Championships but I wanted to change because I have duel nationality. I decided to fight for the country of my father, who was in the corner. I was for four years on the Belgium national team and it is a big thing to change. This is my dream. I will put everything into my other bouts to win gold."
His father, by the way, is Bea Diallo, who was IBF inter-continental middleweight champion, during a successful professional career, which also saw him challenge for the IBO title. Since his retirement he has become a successful politician in Belgium.
Here's a short clip of Diallo senior and junior together
Clinton Farlo Ndjinga (Gabon): "I'm very happy with my first win. I was well prepared and my strategy was good. The fight was not easy. For the first round I was observing him to know how he moves, how he punches. Then I threw some punches to test how strong he is. Then I unleashed my tactics to finish him."
Ben Haj Aouina Akrem is a slick southpaw who can go places. The Tunisian was a nightmare for Steve Minko Nsa'amang, of Cameroon, who came forward only to usually find Aouina's jab in his face, while the Tunisian made his exit sideways. The braver Nsa'amang got the more Aouina upped the pressure on him, the Cameroonian being deducted two points for roughhousing as his frustration grew. Aouina will nest face the No 2 seed, the experienced Richarno Colin, of Mauritius.
Omar Abdul Wahib, possibly Ghana's best hope of getting a boxer to Tokyo, was a pretty conclusive points winner over Joseph Shigali, of Kenya.
The host nation, Senegal, are still looking for their first victory and, despite a brave effort, Matar Sambou, never looked like producing it against the impressive Yahia Abdelli, of Algeria. Once Sambou took a trip to the canvas in the second round, the first of two counts he received en route to a wide points defeat in their lightweight bout.
Qhoboshean Mohlerepe, of Lesotho, looked on the way to a quick victory when he rocked Jorgito Ca, from Guinea-Bissau, in the opening round with two sharp lefts, leading to the referee giving him a standing count. Mohlerepe struggled to keep up the pressure, although he ran out a comfortable enough points winner.
Brendon Denes looked a boxer going places and the Zimbabwean was far too good for Zakaria Diarra, of Mali, running out a comfortable points winner.
One other result to catch up with. Ibrahima Diallo, of Guinea, was a points winner in a competitive encounter with Diosdado Boddien Evita, of Equatorial Guinea.
Take a bow Clinton Farlo Ndjinga, of Gabon, who landed the shot of the tournament so far to knock down Sabry Gamal Kamel Merdash, of Egypt, in their lightweight clash. The heavy-handed Ndjinga landed the big overhand right in the second round to drop his Egyptian opponent. From then on it was a matter of trying to see out the full three rounds for Merdash, who tried to stick with it, despite being heavily outgunned, and took two more standing counts before going down on points.
Ramla Ali (Somalia): "The last competition I had was in November, so that’s four months out of the ring. So I felt really rusty, I felt really flat, I didn’t perform like I wanted to perform, hence the disappointment in my face when they pulled my hand, but I’m glad to have the first one out of the way.
"[My body] feels really wrecked. I’m really wrecked but I’m glad to be obviously making history – the first woman from Somalia to come to these qualifiers which is obviously setting and paving the way for future athletes to hope, to try to dream and do the same thing."
There was a fabulous start to the men's lightweight encounter between Abrham Alem Gebremariam, of Ethiopia, and Yasin Adnan, Uganda, although a nose injury ended up ruling Gebremariam out in the second round. The pair went at each other hammer and tongs in the first, but the Ethiopian picked up a nose injury in the first round, which worsened in the second round, when it became so bad that the doctor stopped the bout, Adnan advancing to the next stage.
After a close opening round, Alex Michael Isendi, Tanzania, proved just too strong for Almnsori Mahamed Hafith Farhat, of Libya, who did not have the energy to stick with Isendi, despite a tough defensive effort in the final round. Isendi was a clear points winner.
Marcelat Sakobi Matshu could be a boxer to keep an eye on in Dakar. after an impressive points win over the inexperienced Suzan Akello, of Uganda. Akello had plenty of heart, but she did not have the speed or the skills to deal with the boxer from the Democratic Republic of Congo, who landed plenty of decent combinations and was tellingly accurate with her right hand. She loks a woman to watch in in the featherweight division and is now only two wins from a place in Tokyo. A brilliant end to the women's bouts today.
Ramla Ali, who once appeared on the cover of Vogue, showed some good footwork and swift hands to win her opening encounter in the featherweight division against Beatrice Akoth, of Kenya. Okoth was aggressive and kept moving forward, but that played into the hands of the Somalian, who picked her off to run out a comfortable points winner.
A whirlwind start by Fatima Senouci, of Algeria, who takes less than a round-and-a-half to win her opening bout against Marie Madele Rasorinoro Ep Ralison, of Madagascar. A blistering start saw Ralison holding on after just a minute, as Senouci found her target frequently. Things continued in a similar way in the second round and, after two standing counts in close succession, the bout was stopped by the referee.
5.50: Uganda are well represented among the fans in Dakar too
5.45: Boxers limbering up backstage for the start of tonight's action
Souleymane M'baye was WBA light-welterweight champion from 2006 until 2007, a rival champion at the time to Ricky Hatton and even Floyd Mayweather. Now the Frenchman is trying to build a boxing legacy in Senegal.
This is Abdul Wahid Omar, Ghana's lightweight hope, who is in action this evening, talking about his journey.
Following yesterday's picture of Egypt's super-heavyweight and heavyweight hopes sparring in a car park, here are two of Algeria's big medal chances, from opposite ends of the weight scale - heavyweight Abdelhafid Benchabla and flyweight Mohamed Flissi - having a friendly face-off in a hotel corridor.
The action gets underway at 6pm on Friday. Here is the set-up, with the two rings, inside Dakar Arena.
The Olympic Channel Podcast visited Ramla Ali to talk Tokyo 2020, refugees and keeping her boxing career secret from her family.
The action got underway in Dakar yesterday
Alex Arthur's view on Day 1, providing the expert analysis on the action in Ring A
Bout 12 – Women’s Feather (54-57kg)
Fatima Zahra SENOUCI (Algeria) v Marie Madele RASOARINORO EP RALISON (Madagascar)
Bout 13 – Women’s Feather (54-57kg)
Marcelat SAKOBI MATSHU (Democratic Republic of the Congo) v Suzan AKELLO (Uganda)
Bout 14 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Abrham ALEM GEBREMARIAM (Ethiopia) v Yasin ADNAN (Uganda)
Bout 15 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Clinton Farlo NDJINGA (Gabon) v Sabry GAMAL KAMEL MERDASH (Egypt)
Bout 16 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
JORGITO CA (Guinea-Bissau) v Qhoboshean MOHLEREPE (Lesotho)
Bout 17 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Omar ABDUL WAHIB (Ghana) v Joseph SHIGALI (Kenya)
Bout 18 – Women’s Feather (54-57kg)
OUMA BEATRICE AKOTH (Kenya) v Ramla Said Ahmed ALI (Somalia)
Bout 19 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Alex Michael ISENDI (Tanzania) v ALMNSORI MAHAMED HAFITH FARHAT (Libya)
Bout 20 - Men’s Light (57-63kg)
DIALLO IBRAHIMA BEA JR (Guinea) v Diosdado BODDIEN EVITA (Equatorial Guinea)
Bout 21 – Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Zakaria DIARRA (Mali) v Brendon DENES (Zimbabwe)
Bout 22 – Men’s Light (57-63kg)
Matar SAMBOU (Senegal) v ABDELLI YAHIA (Algeria)
Bout 23 – Men’s Light (57-63kg)
BEN HAJ AOUINA AKREM (Tunisia) v Steve MINKO NSA'AMANG (Cameroon)
There are 33 places at the Tokyo Olympics available in Dakar – 22 for men and 11 for women.
Any boxer who reaches the final is guaranteed an Olympic place.
In addition, in six male weight categories (flyweight to light-heavyweight) as well as one female division (flyweight) there will be a third qualification spot available. This will be decided by a box-off between the two losing semi-finalists.
There will be one more chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at the final world qualifying event in Paris in May.