Tokyo, July 31: American Keyshawn Davis accused Olympic boxing organisers of disrespect after flooring lightweight favourite Sofiane Oumiha and said he now had "no choice" but to win Olympic gold.
The 22-year-old from Norfolk, Virginia, who fought on the undercard of the big Arlington showdown between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders in May, is away to a flying start in his Tokyo 2020 campaign.
Frenchman Oumiha won silver at Rio five years ago and the 26-year-old was the top seed at these Games, but he lost by second-round knockout as Davis pulled out a big shot that booked him a quarter-final place.
The USA last won an Olympic boxing gold medal at the 2004 Games, but Davis may have a shot of ending that barren run and he will not be found wanting for confidence.
"I feel like this is my opportunity. I feel like I can't let no competitor beat me or even come close to that," Davis said after his second win in Japan's capital.
"I'm just making sure throughout every fight that I'm putting on a good performance, I'm putting on a show, but I'm also having fun in the ring.
"My confidence has already been high, but looking at my opponents right here, I don't feel like they’re as good [as Oumiha].
"I've got no choice but to get gold. I'm getting gold, and that's what I'm shooting for is getting gold."
Davis then questioned why he should get such a tough opening fight at the match-up with Oumiha.
"They've given me these tougher opponents early. I feel kind of disrespected," he said, "like they're trying to get me out of the tournament early, or that's just how I take it to motivate myself to go into each one of these fights.
"But I don't care if you gave me [world champion] Andy Cruz the first day, I was going to beat him and move onto the next day, and that's how I felt coming into this tournament."
Russian Olympic Committee's Gabil Mamedov is next for Davis, with Cruz on the opposite side of the draw.
GOLDEN CHANCE FOR JAPANESE YOUNGSTER
Japan's Sena Irie will fight for gold on Tuesday in the first final of the Tokyo boxing programme, a thrill for the 20-year-old home boxer.
Featherweight Irie won silver in the Asian and Oceanian Olympic qualifying event, held in Jordan almost 18 months ago. She also finished fifth at the 2019 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.
Now she could deliver an Olympic title for the hosts after edging out Great Britain's Karriss Artingstall on a split (3:2) points decision in their semi-final.
Irie said: "It was a very close match but if I had lost in the third round I probably would have regretted it for the rest of my life. I honestly did not think I would be going to the finals. Now that I have, I want to get the gold."
She will face reigning world champion Nesthy Petecio of the Philippines who beat Irma Testa, also by split decision (4:1) with the judges. Petecio has been regarded as the title favourite.
Petecio said: "This means so much to me as not only it is my dream, it is my father's dream. It's not for me, it's for my family, my country and for all the people from the Philippines who have prayed for me."
WORTH THE WEIGHT?
Japan's Ryomei Tanaka is fighting in the flyweight division and going great guns, reaching the quarter-finals on Saturday with a points win over China's Jianguan Hu.
But making the 48-52kg class is a strain, Tanaka admits, and the sooner these Games are over, the happier the 27-year-old will be on a personal basis.
"It is not easy getting to the weight to compete. I want to meet up with my friends to drink and eat," he said.
His life in recent times has been built around the objective of success at the Kokugikan Arena, however, and those social treats can wait a little longer.
"I have been preparing for several years for this chance. I don't care about who my opponent is or what he can do. I just think about my style," Tanaka said.
"The next round is for a medal, but I want the gold. But more important than my performance, I just like to knock out my opponent. I sometimes care more about that than the result."