Villebon-sur-Yvette (France) (AFP)
France will be able to count on a strong asset in boxing in Tokyo: Sofiane Oumiha (-63 kg), Olympic vice-champion in Rio in 2016, held his rank and qualified for the Olympics, Saturday in Villebon-sur- Yvette.
The Toulousain (26 years old) thus joins Billal Bennama (-52 kg) and Samuel Kistohurry (-57 kg), the two Tricolors who had won their place in March 2020 during the TQO organized in London just before his sudden interruption in the height of Covid-19.
For Oumiha, this success marks the end of a very long wait. The Frenchman had been cut off in his tracks a year ago in the British capital when he had only one fight to win to be assured of the trip to Japan. After waiting fifteen months, he has fulfilled his contract perfectly and can pursue his Olympic dream.
Largely superior to his opponent in the round of 16, Moldovan Alexandru Paraschiv, Oumiha did not leave room for suspense, logically winning on points to obtain one of the eight sesames at stake in his category, before being at length congratulated by the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu.
More mobile and more precise, the Frenchman mastered his subject even if Paraschiv turned out to be tougher than expected and shook him somewhat in the second round. But not enough to stop Oumiha in his quest for this gold medal which has been his obsession since his failure in the Olympic final in 2016.
– Hamadouche in repechage –
“I’m getting closer to this medal that I’ve been looking for a while, he reacted. That’s why I decided to continue the adventure in Olympic boxing. Today it was not the end. . There was apprehension, I waited so much for this moment. But we managed to stay focused, so I’m very happy. Now we’ll try to get to the end of this tournament. “
“I was a little embarrassed in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, it was complicated to find my marks but I managed to settle down over the minutes, to move,” he added.
Even if he has his ticket already in his pocket, the objective for Oumiha is now to go as far as possible in this TQO, just to afford a life-size test before the Olympics, where he will be there. one of the main French chances for a gold medal in boxing.
The Tokyo Games will however be his ultimate challenge among amateurs since he turned professional at the start of the year by engaging with the renowned English promoter Franck Warren, who notably takes care of the WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and managed the careers of some big names in British boxing in recent years (Prince Naseem Hamed, Ricky Hatton, Frank Bruno, Amir Khan). A first fight was scheduled for March in Poland before being canceled due to the health situation.
Oumiha may not be the only pro with the Blues in Tokyo. Maïva Hamadouche, holder of the IBF world super featherweight belt, was largely dominated in points in the quarterfinals by Irishman Kellie Harrington but she will have a draft to play on Monday.
© 2021 AFP