FROM USA BOXING:
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (AUGUST 9, 2016) - Team USA's Carlos Balderas (Santa Maria, Calif.) joined his roommate in the quarterfinals with his second victory of the Olympic Games on Tuesday morning in Rio de Janeiro. Balderas took on Japan's hard charging Daisuke Narimatsu in today's second round competition at the Riocentro Pavilion 6 on day four of boxing competition in Brazil.
Balderas enjoyed two days off after opening Team USA's competition on Saturday morning and he expended all the energy he'd stored in those 48 hours in an action packed bout with Narimatsu. It didn't take for the punches to start flowing early in the bout as the two boxers traded shots over the first three minutes.
Balderas landed clean, accurate punches on his Japanese opponent while working to keep him from landing shots of his own. In the second round, the two boxers sat in the center of the ring trading blows as Balderas scored with several great shots to the body and head. As has become his calling card, Balderas showcased great body work in an effort to slow Narimatsu down.
The Japanese boxer came out strong in the third but Balderas staved off any type of comeback and went to win his second straight unanimous decision of the 2016 Olympic Games taking all three rounds of the match.
"The guy was physically a lot stronger than me. He kept coming and I noticed that he was taking all of my punches, he has a good chin so I couldn't just tap and move. I had to find my way off of him or he would have been on me the whole fight. I just used more of my experience," Balderas said. "I noticed that his style was very awkward, he would fight with his head a little more forward than his body so every time I would hit to his head, he was just waiting for me and he was countering. So what I started doing was feinting a lot and I started using my speed a lot more because he was a lot slower than me."
Balderas banked the first two rounds and entered the third with a strong lead.
"I felt like the fight was close but I felt like I was control. He was eating a lot of my solid punches and his punches were sliding off and missing. I knew this was going to be a difficult fight but it was a lot harder than I thought because he kept eating everything and just kept coming forward," Balderas said. "He was in great, great shape because he was taking a lot of great body punches and he was giving them back as well. I was very anxious to get back in the ring (in the third round) because I noticed I had rocked him and he was still a little wobbled but this guy could take a punch. I think it was a right hook. He came in, he threw his left, I stepped back and I hit him and when I hit him, he kind of wobbled and fell forward a little."
The 19-year-old lightweight knew that body work was going to be key to the bout with such an aggressive opponent.
"I knew I needed to the go body early because if I went to the body early, it would slow him down. I saw his fight the first day and I saw that he was very aggressive and kept coming forward so the best way for me to slow him down was the body and that's what I did," Balderas said.
Once again, Balderas enjoyed strong family support in Riocentro 6 with nine family members screaming loudly throughout his bout along with his teammates who proudly chanted U-S-A.
"I saw everybody (my family) was in the crowd behind the blue corner. Right when I was about to step in the ring, I looked up and saw my cousins and all my family screaming and yelling," he said.
Balderas and roommate Nico Hernandez have now gotten their U.S. team off to a 4-0 start and both are one victory away from the medal stand.
"It makes me happy because USA is getting really far like I said they would and now it's time to enjoy this victory and I'll be back on Friday against the Cuban but I'll leave that to my coaches," he said.
He will face a stiff challenge in his quarterfinal bout as he faces former World Champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Lazaro Alvarez from Cuba at 12:30 p.m. Brazil time (11:30 a.m. ET) on Friday.
Middleweight Charles Conwell (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) will make his Olympic debut tonight against India's Krishan Vikas at 6:15 p.m. local time (5:15 p.m. ET).