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10 talents to watch at the Tokyo Olympic Games

Pat McCormack Olympic qualifier
John Dennen picks out 10 boxers from 10 different countries to watch at the Tokyo Olympic Games
  1. Pat McCormack (GB)
    Britain has a particularly talented and experienced squad set for the Tokyo Games. But Pat McCormack might just be their star. A veteran of the Rio Olympics, a World silver medallist and European Games champion. Expect him and twin brother Luke to make an impact at the Games.
  2. Oleksandr Khyzhniak (UKR)
    Knockouts are few and far between in elite amateur boxing. The Ukrainian middleweight is a machine. Power-punching, relentless, a man to watch.
  3. Andy Cruz (CUB)
    In Andy Cruz Cuba might just have the best pound-for-pound boxer in Tokyo. Quick reactions, elusive, fast hands, he will be very hard to beat.
  4. Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov (UZB)
    Uzbekistan were a powerhouse at Rio 2016. Look out for Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov in the richly competitive 57kgs division. He won the last World championships, beating the brilliant Lazaro Alvarez in the final.
  5. Beatriz Ferreira (BRA)
    Denied the chance to perform at the cancelled Americas qualification event, Ferreira will still carry Brazil’s hopes into the Tokyo Olympics. She’s been in good form boxing in Europe in recent months, beating Mira Potkonen to win the Strandja.
  6. Eumir Marcial (PHI)
    Marcial will represent the Philippines at 75kgs. He hits hard, he’s aggressive and he can really fight. The new rules allow boxers to fight professionally and remain eligible for the Olympics. Marcial has already signed with Pacquiao as a promoter and has been training with Freddie Roach.
  7. David Nyika (NZL)
    The New Zealand 91kgs has taken advantage of the pro rule to get in a random professional contest. That revealed nothing but he is stylish, skillful and an exciting talent.
  8. Michaela Walsh (IRL)
    Walsh is part of another sibling pair hoping to represent their country at the Olympics. Her brother Aidan is also on the Ireland team at welterweight.
  9. Mary Kom (IND)
    Kom won a record-breaking number of World championships but she is too small for flyweight. She couldn’t really add a fairy tale ending to her career and win another Olympic medal in Tokyo. Can she?
  10. Zakir Safiullin (KAZ)
    The old Kazakh warrior has a dangerous edge. He lost to Uzbekistan’s Elnur Abduraimov in the final of the Asian qualifier but it was a thriller. Expect more wars in the 63kgs division in Tokyo.

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