Olympians Khadija Mardi and Richarno Colin battle their way through to the semi-finals, while Senegalese Diarga Balde pulls off a huge upset.

by MMC
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Khadija Mardi and Elizabeth Andiego return for unfinished Olympic business

Tuesday, who returns to the ring after missing the Tokyo 2020 due to the birth of her third child, arrived on the pre-Olympic scene with more hunger as she aims for her second Olympic ticket.

The boxers entered the ring expecting a grueling battle in the 75kg competition, and although Mardi managed to control the first round, Mozambique’s Gramane, who competed in Tokyo, bounced back to deliver the fight to his opponent in the next three minutes.

The pressure of the fight got the better of her as she had two points taken away from what was her best round. Experience and know-how made all the difference during the final round for the 31-year-old Moroccan, as the judges awarded her the unanimous victory.

“We are the big names in African boxing, so it felt like a final! » said a delighted Tuesday to Olympics.com.

“I am a world champion, but she is a bronze medalist at the world championships, so I am very proud to move forward and push the fight to represent Arab and African women in the boxing ring at the Olympics .

“I felt the pressure in the second round, but we expected her to fight because she had nothing to lose since I am world champion. But I knew exactly how to handle it. »

It doesn’t get any easier for Mardi, as she will have another battle for the final ticket when she faces Mbata in semis. The Nigerian may be inexperienced, having only boxed competitively for four years, but she is a strong fighter who trains in Finchley Boxing club, the gym where the British Olympic star trained as an amateur.

Mbata, who lost to Gramane in the 2023 African final, was in superlative form, dictating the pace handily and staying at bay against another continental silver medalist, the Congolese. Marie-Joëlle Mwika.

“I’ve seen her before, but she was boxing at 180 pounds, she lost weight but retained some of her strength, and it took me a little longer to start giving her standing and standing counts. throwing my shots more, but we just moved on to the next one,” Mbata said after his unanimous victory.

“I could have done better, I’m always my harshest critic, but I’m going to show more of what I have in the semi-final.”

Kenyan Andiego was happy to have succeeded in her first fight after “choosing to take it easy, one round at a time” against Dr Ornella Sathoud, Ghanaian, who struggled to find energy in the ring, after a suspected case of food poisoning.

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