Nico Hernandez is like a Kansas tornado, hellbent on defeating anything in his path.
After outpointing Ecuador’s Carlos Eduardo Quipo Pilataxi he now moves to the light flyweight semifinals on Friday and can do no worse than a bronze medal. In fact, Hernandez will be the first American boxer to stand on an Olympic Podium in eight years, and twenty-eight years for the division.
After the first round, two of the three judges scored the round for Pilitaxi, after the second two of the three for Hernandez. But in the final frame, all three were in favor of the warrior from Wichita.
The difference in the fight was the skillset of Hernandez. While Pilitaxi was one dimensional throwing mostly power shots to the head, Hernandez settled in and boxed nicely exhibiting ring generalship beyond his years.
In the first round, Pilitaxi attacked and landed some big shots; however Hernandez landed a few of his own but not enough to steal the round.
A student of the game, Hernandez listened to the advice of his corner and understood the adjustments that needed to be made.
Throughout the second and third rounds, Hernandez slipped punches, used feints, set up shots with his jab, went to the body, countered effectively, and like he did in the first two bouts, displayed an active left hook.
Along with the adjustments made, his ability to remain calm and focused considering what was at stake helped his cause.
On Friday Hernandez will face Uzbekistan’s Hasanboy Dusmatov.
If you think Hernandez is satisfied to have just made it to this point, think again, “there may be gold in them thar hills” of Wichita, Kansas.