ALMATY 2013: APB boxers triumph in World Championships31 October 2013
The AIBA World Boxing Championships Almaty 2013 was a huge success, not least for boxers on the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) roster, who came home with a number of medals, Here we take a quick look at how just a few of them got on.
At Flyweight (52kg)
Misha Aloian from Russia had a fantastic tournament and repeated his success in Baku 2011 by becoming World Champion for the second time. The (now) two-time World Champion and London 2012 Olympic Bronze medallist had a tough contest with Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan in the finals though. The southpaw Russian had a very intense look in his eyes going into the bout and there was a significant degree of tension and edginess in the performance of both athletes. As late as the end of round two, they still looked very hesitant to actually pull the trigger. When they did let the punches fly, they were both very effective and looked as sharp as butcher’s knives. In the first minute of round three, the Russian manoeuvred his opponent into a corner and got off some hard shots. Eventually it was Aloian who took the bout by split decision.
Also in action at Flyweight was Welsh boxing wizard Andrew Selby, who took home a bronze. Selby was a consistently good performer throughout the tournament and fought a nail biting semi-final contest. Even if he didn’t get the gold, he was possibly the most exciting boxer to watch from a neutral’s perspective this year.
At Middleweight (75kg)
Florentino Falcao Esquiva from Brazil fought against a fit looking Artem Chebotarev of Russia. In a bout that pitched two APB boxers against each other, we were expecting to witness an exceptional confrontation and this one did not disappoint. In what was a nonstop whirlwind of activity, both boxers imposed themselves at various times, but the balance of power rested with the Russian. By round three, he was clearly dominant and really caused Esquiva some difficulties. So it was that Chebotarev took the win (3:0) to move through to the quarter-finals, where he subsequently did enough to secure a bronze.
At Heavyweight (91kg)
Italian boxing superstar Clemente Russo took his second world title in Almaty. The boxer, who also competes for the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder World Series of Boxing (WSB) team, last won the title in Chicago in 2007. The double Olympic Silver medallist looked very strong over the course of the tournament. He correctly predicted that his opponent for the finals would be Evgeny Tishchenko from Russia as he felt the Russian was the best boxer in the opposite bracket. The two had met previously in competition, at a small event just before the London Olympic Games, when Russo lost to the larger Russian. Before the finals, he described his opponent using very gracious terms, saying specifically “that his guard was very difficult to break through” and that he is “highly technical”. But for all that it was Russo who won the contest this time round. “Every bout after the first day I got better and tonight you saw the new Clemente Russo”, said the Italian. “I felt that I won the first two rounds of the final so I spent the last one running”, he said jokingly. “My opponent is a really good boxer! So I’m happy we met in the last fight of the competition because it gave me time to find my best form again”.
Yamil Peralta from Argentina was another APB boxer on the podium, taking bronze. A consistent performer throughout the tournament, Peralta was solid in all of his performances at the World Championships this year. This will come as good news to the Argentina Condors WSB team, with whom he is expected to compete next season.
At Super Heavyweight (91+kg)
Magomedrasul Medzhidov of Azerbaijan won gold in the most spectacular form possible. Arguably falling behind against his opponent Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan over the first three rounds of the finals, the Azeri threw a bomb of a right hand in the final round to drop his opponent for the only straight KO in the tournament. The arena was stunned into an abrupt silence as their local favourite was suddenly flat on his back on the canvas. Nonetheless, Medzhidov won the crowd over to a certain degree with a display of wonderful sportsmanship, when he assisted the dazed Dychko to walk back to his stool in the corner.
Erik Pfeifer, the German boxer, also had an excellent tournament before losing to the very talented Dychko in the semi-finals. This was enough however for the APB boxer (who also plies his trade for the German Eagles in the WSB), to take a bronze.
Elsewhere, Bulgarian Flyweight (52kg) Aleksandar Aleksandrov looked very sharp, and seems to have been blessed with very heavy hands for a 52kg boxer and he is not afraid to let them fly either. Although he finished outside the medals, he had an impressive tournament.
APB Light Flyweight (49kg) Mark Barriga also took to the ring for his native Philippines. Barriga of course is a graduate from AIBA’s pioneering Road to London program so there was another interesting angle in his performance. Watching Barriga fighting it became clear that one of the things that characterized the APB boxers in contrast to their AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) colleagues in these Championships, was that AOB boxers tended in general to throw more shots than the APB athletes, but the APB boxers seemed to be more energy efficient in picking their punches and ensured that they landed with more potency. This is clearly a function of the increased number of rounds they are training to compete for. Barriga missed out on a medal, after a close fought bout with eventual bronze medallist Yosbany Veitia Soto of Cuba in an exciting bout.
Thus it was a good couple of weeks work for our APB boxers who were all in outstanding form.
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