BANTAMWEIGHT boxer Abdul Wahid Omar will this evening kick-start Ghana’s determined campaign for a medal in the sport when he takes on Argentina’s Alberto Ezequiel Melian in the Round of 32 stage at the Rio Centro Pavilion 6, at 5.pm local time (8pm Ghana time).
It is 44 years now since Ghana won a medal at the Olympics.
Omar’s opponent 26-year-old Argentine who last participated in the 2012 London Olympics, is nicknamed ‘Impacto’ – an endorsement of his aggressive fighting style.
Melian stands at 1.70m, and he is said to be a fighter who likes to take the steam out of his opponents with neat body work, punching with spite to the ribs. He is also equally adept at mounting attacks upstairs with blindingly fast punch combinations.
The body-snatching bantamweight is tenacious and unrelenting in attack and will come to excite, a style which took him to the London 2012 Olympic Games, where he proudly represented his country.
The orthodox out-boxer will be no stranger to the longer rounds format as he compiled an impressive record for the Argentina Condors in Season III and IV of the World Series Boxing (WSB), chalking up eight wins from nine bouts.
This formidable record over the longer rounds format will see the masterful Melian enter the fight with plenty of confidence and hoping to upset the big guns of the Games.
But in 23-year-old Omar, the Argentine may have met his match. The Ghanaian bronze medallist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, is equally rugged and appears to have a lot of energy bottled up in his brawny body.
With a fighting style that is akin to Melian, Omar seems to have what it takes to dismember any boxer in his 56kg weight category, on a good day.
The boxer himself is all-too confident ahead of the bout, conscious of the fact that he is the lone-ranger in the spot for Ghana. Admittedly, there is an amperage of pressure on Omar to make the nation proud and also carve out a niche for himself.
“I know the assignment ahead of me is difficult, but I believe it’s surmountable with Allah on my side.
“All I ask from Ghanaians back home is their prayers and support. I believe with focus and determination too, I can make it,” the 22-year-old told the media here ahead of the fight.
The confident-looking bantamweight boxer rode on the back of a wild card to make it to Rio, having lost narrowly at the third place finals of the Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers in Cameroun last March.
The special dispensation was granted after the International Boxing Authority (AIBA) reviewed all the semi final bouts.
From John Vigah, Rio de Janeiro