Australian boxing, draw, Skye Nicolson, Paulo Aokuso, schedule

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If rising Australian boxing star Paulo Aokuso wants a place on the podium in Tokyo, he’ll have to do it the hard way.

The 24-year-old light heavyweight secured a bye in the first round of Thursday night’s Olympic draw before finding out he’ll likely face No. 1 seed Bekzad Nurdauletov, who beat him just last year, in the quarter-finals.

Aokuso put his division on notice when he beat the then second-best light heavyweight in the world at the start of 2020 in his first international tournament. It was in the same competition that he later fell to Kazakhstan’s Nurdauletov in a decision defeat.

It was better news for some of the other Australians as Skye Nicolson also secured a bye in the first round of the featherweight bracket, with South Korea’s Im Aeji waiting for her after that.

Nicolson won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2016 World Championships and is on a collision course with No. 3 seed Brazilian Jucielen Romeu if both secure passage to the quarter-finals.

Caitlin Parker, a Commonwealth Games silver medallist, will face Panama’s Atheyna Bylon for a place in the quarter-finals, with the women’s middleweight division starting with just 16 competitors.

Alex Winwood (flyweight) and Harry Garside (lightweight) weren’t as lucky; they’ll both have to win their way to the last 16 at the Games.

Winwood will face Zambia’s Patrick Chinyemba, while Garside, who won gold in 2018 at the Commonwealth Games, will stand across from John Ume of Papua New Guinea.

Australia is still searching for its first gold medal in boxing at the Olympics.

SCHEDULE

Skye Nicolson — BYE, then vs. Im Aeji (KOR) on Monday, July 26

Caitlin Parker — vs. Atheyna Bylon (PAN) on Saturday, July 31

Alex Winwood — vs. Patrick Chinyemba (ZAM) on Monday, July 26

Harry Garside — vs. John Ume (PNG) on Sunday, July 25

Paulo Aokuso — BYE, then Gazi Jalidov (ESP) on Wednesday, July 28



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