Split Decision: Two Canadian boxers advance to finals at Pan Ams; third wins bronze

OSHAWA, Ont. — Split decisions defined Canada's night in boxing at the Pan American Games, with mixed results.

Caroline Veyre and Mandy Bujold advanced to the gold-medal matches of their weight classes on Tuesday, while teammate Ariane Fortin earned bronze in her semifinal loss. All three matches came down to the judges.

"I'm excited, I've been preparing for this fight for a long time," said Bujold, referring to her upcoming gold-medal bout with American Marlen Esparza on Saturday. "We fought about a month ago and it was a close fight. I try to game plan, I've got new things up my sleeve.

"Me and my coach have been working specifically on this fight, so we're going to go back, sit down, put this fight behind us and get ready for Marlen over the next few days."

Bujold, from Kitchener, Ont., earned a split decision over Colombia's Victoria Valencia in the semifinals of the women's flyweight tournament on Tuesday night. Ringside judges scored it 40-36, 38-38, 40-36 in Bujold's favour.

Although there were fans in attendance for all the competing nations, the three Canadians drew the biggest cheers, with "CA-NA-DA" chants ringing out for each of their ring announcements and again when they had their names announced.

"I think I was able to zone out that I was at home and everyone was there that I knew," said Bujold. "I was able to zone that out a little bit more today. I was able to relax a little bit more, use my jab, keep my feet under me, and I think it showed."

Veyre advanced to the women's lightweight final with a win over Mirquin Sena of the Dominican Republic. Ringside judges scored that fight 38-38, 39-37, 40-36.

Veyre, who was born in France but now resides in Montreal, will face Argentina's Dayana Sanchez on Saturday.

"It feels very good," said Veyre. "She was very tough. She wanted to win, she was very aggressive.

"She was throwing just one punch but it was very strong. She wanted to hurt me."

Fortin was visibly disappointed in her middleweight bronze medal which she won after a split decision loss to Yenebier Guillen Benitez of the Dominican Republic. Ringside judges scored the fight 38-38, 39-37, 39-37 for Guillen Benitez.

In amateur boxing both semifinal losers earn a bronze medal without a consolation-round fight.

"I felt like I was controlling the match," said Fortin, from St-Nicholas, Que. "I've got to give credit to Yenebier, she's a really strong boxer, she did her game plan. It's all in her honour."

Fortin was the second seed in the tournament, behind American Claressa Shields. Shields will face Guillen-Benitez in the final on Saturday.

"I was not looking for bronze, so of course it's disappointing," said Fortin, who is targeting the 2016 Summer Olympics. "But definitely we're looking to get experience for Rio. (The Pan Ams) aren't a qualifier so I'm really glad I was in the ring, got some fights, got some stuff to work on back home."

Also Tuesday, Toronto's Arthur Biyarslanov beat Argentina's Lucas Giminez on points to advance to the semifinals of the men's light welterweight tournament.

He'll face Venezuela's Luis Arcon Diaz on Wednesday night.

The Canadian Press