Belgium and Austria won their first medals after 67 and 47 years of hiatus in Yerevan

28 May 2022 News

The longest competition day with 52 bouts were held at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan, Armenia and all of the winners are medallists in the competition. Belgium won its first medal in the championship since 1955, Austria made a historic step too and earned a medal, the first since 1975.

Altogether 20 nations earned at least one medal in the championships but Italy is the most successful with their seven semi-final spots. Spain and England both earned five guaranteed medals while Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine secured four in Yerevan.

Great honour for the European event that Mr. Milo Djukanovic, the President of the State of Montenegro visited the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships. Altogether 219 boxers from 39 nations are fighting for the 52 available medals in the Armenian capital. The EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships holds at the 13 official weight categories: 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 63.5kg, 67kg, 71kg, 75kg, 80kg, 86kg, 92kg and +92kg. Mr. Adam Kusior of Poland is the Technical Delegate of the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships in Yerevan.

The EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships will continue with its semi-finals after the rest day on Sunday. The May 28 is national holiday in Armenia marks the Day of the First Republic.

The bout of the day

Belgium’s 25-year-old Vasile Usturoi eliminated a strong rival in the preliminary stage of the featherweight (57kg) and he used amazing footwork against Ukraine’s Mikhailo Dziazko in this quarter-final. The Belgian felt the big chance in this quarter-final and proved outstanding skills of boxing today. He danced through all of the areas of the ring and led 10:9 in each of the scorecards after three minutes. Usturoi improved a lot in the recent two years and he became Belgium’s first medallist in the European Boxing Championships since Daniel Hellebuyck achieved a bronze in 1955.

The surprise of the day

England’s Lewis Richardson joined the top team in 2020 after his hard work and this EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships is only his second major elite competition. Following his tournament victories in various countries, he had enough technical skills to keep the control against a strong rival, Germany’s seeded Kevin Schumann. The EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships silver medallist German was not able to find the best distance against the tall Richardson who managed to win this quarter-final contest. The English boxer will face Scotland’s Sam Hickey in a unique semi-final bout on Sunday.

The Round-Up

Armenia’s defending European Games winner Artur Hovhannisyan is one of the favourites at the flyweight (51kg) but he met Spain’s experienced Martin Molina in the quarter-finals. Both boxers are small in this weight category and had similar attacking style of boxing which made their contest a spectacular one. The Armenian was nervous in the first round during his opening and the Spanish had better strategy today, Molina worked from longer distance and he had the strong advantage after six minutes. The Spaniard was smarter today than the defending champion and eliminated Hovhannisyan achieving a medal in Yerevan.

Israel’s professional David Alaverdian boxed brilliantly in the first preliminary round of the flyweight (51kg) in Yerevan and enjoyed that opening contest. The Armenian-descent Israeli felt the support of the home crowd in the quarter-final against Ukraine’s Dmytro Zamotaev who is also an experienced boxer in this weight class. The Ukrainian achieved a bronze medal at the Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships and he knew everything about our sport how to handle all kind of opponents. Zamotaev was quicker in the second round and all of the judges favoured him in that period and the Ukrainian earned his next medal during his career.

Georgia’s Lekso Khasaya achieved a silver medal at the EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships and he defeated the experienced Nodari Darbaidze in the final of their National Championships. The management of the Georgian Boxing Federation decided to give chance to Darbaidze in this championship who advanced to the quarter-finals but Italy’s Federico Serra was too smart for him in the first round. The 28-year-old Italian had outstanding footwork and he had a clear tactical success over the Georgian boxer therefore Serra can prepare to his semi-final against England’s Kiaran MacDonald.

Armenia’s EUBC European Champion and European Games winner Hovhannes Bachkov used aggressive style of boxing in the first preliminary round and he continued in the same way against Czech Republic’s lone quarter-finalist, Petr Novak. The experienced Armenian returned from the professional world to earn his third European title on home soil. Bachkov performed well in the first round but he was still able to increase his speed in the second when the referee counted the Czech talent twice. Bachkov became the first Armenian medallist in Yerevan following his powerful performance at the light welterweight (63.5kg).

Hungary’s Roland Veres eliminated the Seed No.2 at the lightweight (60kg), Armenia’s Karen Tonakanyan in the Round of 16 and he started the first round well against Denmark’s Frederik Lundgaard Jensen. The Hungarian’s left hand was punctual in the first round and took the lead on the scorecards after the three minutes. Veres, who switched from kick-boxing to boxing only a few years ago, was patient in this quarter-final and his single jabs were conclusive today despite Jensen’s great last round. The 22-year-old Hungarian is still inexperienced in boxing but he claimed a guaranteed medal in the championship and will now meet for the final with Georgia’s Artyush Gomtsyan.

Italy’s Salvatore Cavallaro has just recovered from his serious injury before the start of the AIBA World Boxing Championships but he achieved a fantastic bronze medal in Belgrade more than half year ago. Cavallaro is one of the most experienced middleweight (75kg) boxers in Yerevan and he was not only stronger than Turkey’s Serhat Guler but his defensive skills were also in different level. The powerful Italian landed several hooks and he looked quicker in almost all of the actions therefore the Seed No.1 advanced to the semi-final where his next opponent will be Ireland’s Gabriel Dossen.

Austria’s Ahmed Hagag achieved a fantastic and historic gold medal at the EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships. The Austrian super heavyweight (+92kg) boxer met another talent who has Egyptian roots, Norway’s Omar Mohammed Shiha and controlled almost all of the exchanges in Yerevan. He earned Austria’s first medal in the European Boxing Championships since Franz Dorfer’s bronze which he earned in the Katowice 1975 edition. Hagag’s next opponent will be Spain’s Ayoub Ghadfa Drissi El-Aissaoui who stopped Armenia’s big favourite, AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Davit Chaloyan.

France’s Billal Bennama is two-time World Boxing Championships bronze medallist and the best in their current national team. The 24-year-old bantamweight (54kg) boxer is the Seed No.1 in Yerevan and he was untouchable for Ukraine’s Yelmir Nabiiev in the first round. Bennama not only used his excellent defensive skills but he had fantastic counter-punches which reached Nabiev’s face. Bennama has outstanding eyes in this sport and he found the angles from all of the positions to reach the Ukrainian youngster with jabs and uppercuts. Ireland’s Dylan Eagleson delivered the main sensation of this weight class, following the 19-year-old boxer eliminated Spain’s European Games winner Gabriel Escobar.

Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov had a few unexpected losses in the recent two years but he has strong mental skills and returned in this championship in top shape. The 25-year-old Bulgarian bantamweight (54kg) boxer controlled all of the three rounds against Germany’s Omar Salah Ibrahim and he is medallist in the championship for the fourth times. Asenov won the bout in Ring A while his compatriot, the ex-Cuban Javier Ibanez dominated his quarter-final against Sweden’s Nebil Ibrahim at the featherweight (57kg). Asenov and Ibanez joined Ergyunal Sebahtin Sabri to the semi-finals and the Bulgarians earned three guaranteed medals in Yerevan.

Moldova’s Alexandru Paraschiv moved ahead from the first seconds against Poland’s Damian Durkacz who had the same fighting style in the previous contest but he changed his tactics this time. The Moldovan welterweight (67kg) boxer caught the experienced Polish with a tough shot and the Irish referee counted Durkacz in the first round. The 23-year-old Polish tried to stop the attacks of the Moldovan southpaw in the second but Paraschiv landed the stronger shots in the middle part of the quarter-final. The Polish boxer gave up his strategy and moved forward in the third round but Paraschiv had the advantage to win this contest and secured a medal in Yerevan.

Italy’s AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Aziz Abbes Mouhiidine dominated his first contest in Yerevan and he eliminated his quarter-final opponent, Georgia’s Giorgi Tchigladze with excellent performance. Armenia’s Narek Manasyan is another strong boxer at the heavyweight (92kg) who had the strong fighting spirit against Greece’s Vagkan Nanitzanian at the evening session. The Greek boxer has also Armenian roots and he has the talent but Manasyan’s speed decided their contest who earned the fourth medal for the host nation today.

The quotes of the day

“We had the game plan before the contest and my coach Mr. Rafael Lozano Munoz called me before the bout what to do against the Armenian. I followed the instructions and I could keep Hovhannisyan on long and overcame him in the attacks. This is my first medal in a European Boxing Championships but I don’t want to celebrate yet as my goal is to win the entire competition,” added Spain’s Martin Molina.

“The quarter-final bout went well according to our plans and I tried to follow the instructions which I received from my corner during the breaks. I already have a bronze medal from the past but I want to earn a gold this time in Yerevan,” said Ukraine’s Dmytro Zamotaev after his quarter-final triumph.

“This was my next step on the road to the gold medal in this European Boxing Championship. I made some mistakes today in this strong fight but I think I landed the stronger punches,” added Italy’s 27-year-old Salvatore Cavallaro to his success at the middleweight (75kg).

“I am satisfied with my today’s performance, I could eliminate two top seeds already and this is the success of my hard work. This is my first European Boxing Championships and I advanced to the semi-final in Yerevan. I have a rest day now and keep the focus on my next rival,” added England’s Lewis Richardson.

“I am a medallist again which is a fantastic feeling of course but I have a big target here in the European Boxing Championships. I had to keep the distance today and my coaches were satisfied with this performance. I am expecting that I can meet Spain’s Gabriel Escobar in the final and I am looking forward to box against him again,” said France’s Billal Bennama after his quarter-final.

“I know this is a historic moment for Belgium and this is the hard work of our staff. Great thanks for my coaches, and everybody who believed in me to achieve this medal in a European Boxing Championships. Our system how we work is excellent. I had the keep the distance today and used a Cuban tricky style of boxing,” said Belgium’s historic medallist, Vasile Usturoi.

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