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Montreal boxer Tammara Thibeault of is off to the Olympic quarter-finals.
Thibeault, who competes in the 75kg middleweight division, beat Kazakhstan's Nadezhda Ryabets by split decision on Wednesday in Tokyko. Four judges scored in favour of the Canadian while one had Ryabets as the victor.
Thibeault, 24, used her significant size and reach advantage to jab the 20-year-old Ryabets and not let her get inside. When Ryabets tried to close the distance, the Canadian would throw power punches, which ultimately proved to be the difference.
"We knew her, we knew what kind of opponent we had," said Thibeault's coach Daniel Trepanier.
"We knew it was a fight within Tammara's grasp, but it wouldn't be easy. Ryabets doesn't allow you to express your talent, as she constantly changes sides. We knew we had a chance to get this fight, but it wouldn't be exciting, it would be difficult technically and tactically."
The Canadian will box on Saturday in the quarter-finals against Netherland's Nouchka Fontijn. She's competing in her first Olympics after claiming bronze at the 2019 world championships.
"I'm happy with my performance and I'll stay concentrated on what I have to do as of now," Thibeault said.
Veyre ousted in quarters
Meanwhile, Caroline Veyre of Montreal, who is Thibeault's teammate, boxing in the women's 57kg featherweight division, fell to Italy's Irma Testa in the quarter-finals. The Canadian couldn't get past the jab of Testa, who had a reach advantage and used it well. The Italian won a unanimous decision.
"We knew the opponent was tall and difficult to face," Veyre said. "She's had a lot of success lately, notably winning the qualifiers in Europe ... It was hard at first and we expected her to falter faster, to be able to impose our rhythm like we did in the third."
Testa will fight in the semis on Saturday, guaranteeing her an Olympic medal. Since there is no bronze-medal match in Olympic boxing, both semifinal losers secure bronze.
Veyre was making her Olympic debut in Tokyo after an injury in 2016 prevented her from qualifying for Rio. She beat Croatia's Nikolina Cacic by unanimous decision on Monday to advance to the quarters.
"I'm really happy to have reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games after a year of inactivity," Veyre said. "It's fantastic."