Bulgaria’s Emi-Mari Todorova defeated her top national rival in the Balkan Women’s Tournament12 August 2019
The fifth edition of the Balkan Women’s Tournament was held in Botevgrad, Bulgaria which was a parallel tournament with the EUBC European Schoolgirls & Schoolboys Boxing Championships. Bulgaria’s Emi-Mari Todorova defeated her main national rival EUBC European Women’s Champion Sevda Asenova but Stanimira Petrova’s and Russia’s Anastasia Beliakova’s performances were also highlights in the tournament.
The Bulgarian Boxing Federation will be hosting the upcoming EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships in Sofia from September 2 therefore the Balkan Women’s Tournament was one of the last preparations for the youth boxers. The elite women boxers will have also a continental event this August in Spain’s capital in Madrid.
Botevgrad, which is located in the Western part of Bulgaria, is the host at second time, the first three editions were all held in their capital city in Sofia. The Bulgarian Boxing Federation hosted the event firstly in 2015 to raise the number of the international possibilities for their female boxers.
The following 11 nations will be taking part in the Balkan Women’s Tournament: host Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Somalia, Sweden and Turkey. Among them Bulgaria, Poland, Russia, Turkey and Finland were able to get at least one gold medal.
Bout of the finals
The host country claimed finally four gold medals in the Balkan Women’s Tournament and the event was their last selection event before the upcoming two important EUBC Championships. Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Women’s Youth Champion Emi-Mari Todorova defeated her teammate Sevda Asenova at the very first time earlier this year and the two Bulgarians met each other in a classical repeat match in Botevgrad. Todorova is 14-year-younger than Asenova therefore she moved more on feet in their light flyweight (48kg) final which decided their narrow final.
Surprise of the final
The biggest surprise of the finals was delivered by a 24-year-old Bulgarian, Gabriela Dimitrova, who achieved bronze medal in the Minsk 2019 European Games but in the final of the elite flyweight (51kg) she was not the main gold medal contender. Dimitrova’s final opponent was Russia’s former AIBA Women’s World Champion Elena Saveleva who is a veteran boxer but returned in top shape. The Bulgarian boxer exceeded her previous limits and defeated the tough Russian using her speed to win the final.
Finland earned two superb gold medals in the youth part of the Balkan Women’s Tournament in Botevgrad. Their youth No.1 Vilma Viitanen achieved high number of medals and titles during her international career since 2016 therefore her success over Poland’s Wanessa Orczyk was not a surprise at the lightweight (60kg). Her younger teammate Eveliina Taimi increased Finland’s titles up to two when she defeated Sweden’s Rebecka Ljunglof in a classic Nordic final at the light welterweight (64kg).
Bulgaria’s Jeju 2014 AIBA Women’s World Champion and two-time EUBC European Women’s Champion Stanimira Petrova is in top form this year and the featherweight (57kg) is perfect for her physical skills. She had to meet in the final against a tough opponent, Canada’s Toronto 2015 Panamerican Games winner Caroline Veyre who moved down to this category. The Bulgarian used her longer reach to keep the North American long and won their world class battle in Botevgrad.
Turkey’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Champion and two-time EUBC European U22 Champion Busenaz Surmeneli moved down to the welterweight (69kg) and her pressurizing style was too much for Russia’s Darima Sandakova. Sennur Demir is also a strong Turkish boxer who also changed her category from the heavyweight (+81kg) to the middleweight (75kg) which paid off in the final of the Balkan Women’s Tournament. Demir had stronger punches than Poland’s former Youth Olympic Games winner Elzbieta Wojcik and won their narrow final in Botevgrad.