Bulgaria’s Ivailo Marinov won his fourth title at the Gothenburg 1991 European Boxing Championships

29 July 2020 News

The 29th edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Gothenburg which was the first continental event in Sweden. Record number of eight nations won the gold medals in 1991 when four of the boxers defended their thrones. Bulgaria’s light flyweight (48kg) veteran Ivailo Marinov celebrated his fourth European title in Gothenburg.

The first competition day of the 1991 European Boxing Championships was May 7 in Gothenburg while the finals were held on May 12. The scoring system has been changed since the previous Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships. The five judges counted the clear and hard punches and used electronic scoring system in Gothenburg.

There was not any rest day in the competition between the semi-finals and the finals in the 1991 edition. There were two rounds of preliminaries at the lightweight (60kg), at the light welterweight (63.5kg), at the welterweight (67kg) and at the middleweight (75kg) in the Gothenburg 1991 European Boxing Championships.

The total number of the boxers was 191 in the Gothenburg 1991 European Boxing Championships where the participants could compete in 12 weight classes as in the previous editions. The following 26 nations attended in the 1991 European Boxing Championships: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Soviet Union, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Wales and Yugoslavia.

Israel never competed any of the previous editions of the European Boxing Championships therefore the country made its debut in the Gothenburg 1991 edition following their official approval to compete in our continent. East and West Germany unified in 1990 and the United German team competed in the 1991 European Boxing Championships.

Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union and Spain were the four nations which competed with maximum number of 12 boxers in the Gothenburg 1991 European Boxing Championships. It was the very first time when the Spanish team sent maximum number of 12 boxers to the continental event which they used as active preparation before the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games. The host Swedish team attended with 11 boxers in the Gothenburg 1991 European Boxing Championships, they absent only the flyweight (51kg).

Record number of eight nations shared the gold medals in the 1991 European Boxing Championships. The Soviet Union regained its top position, their boxers claimed three from each of the medal. Germany and Bulgaria both claimed two gold medals in Gothenburg and ranked as runner-up and No.3 in the 1991 edition. The Bulgarians were thirds on the medal table in the previous editions of the European Boxing Championships as well.

Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, host Sweden and Ireland all won one weight classes in the 1991 European Boxing Championships. Altogether impressive number of 18 nations won at least one bronze medal in the Swedish edition. Italy, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Poland, Yugoslavia, Denmark, England, France, Norway and Scotland all were on the medal table of the 1991 edition.

Bulgaria’s Ivailo Marinov claimed gold medals in the 1981, 1983 and 1989 editions of the European Boxing Championships and the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games became fourth-time continental champion in Gothenburg. The Bulgarian light flyweight (48kg) boxer eliminated Hungary’s Pal Lakatos in the semi-finals and continued his winning path against Italy’s lone finalist Luigi Castiglione.

Hungary’s Olympic Games bronze medallist Janos Varadi claimed silver medal at the flyweight (51kg) in the 1989 edition but following his national losses, he was replaced by European Junior Champion Istvan Kovacs. The 21-year-old promising Hungarian used his technical superiority to beat such strong rivals as Soviet Union’s Kazakh talent Bolat Temirov, Bulgaria’s Daniel Petrov and Germany’s Mario Loch in Gothenburg taking his first big elite title.

The Bulgarians dominated the bantamweight (54kg) in that era and their Serafim Todorov was able to achieved his second European title following his successes over Germany’s Andreas Tews and Netherlands’ Miguel Dias. The last Irish boxer who achieved gold medal at the European Boxing Championships was Michael McCullagh in 1949 therefore their 20-year-old Paul Griffin achieved for the country’s first European title in 42 years. The Irish featherweight (57kg) boxer defeated Soviet Union’s Faat Gatin in the final of the event.

Romania earned plenty of silver and bronze medals in the previous editions but their 24-year-old Vasile Nistor bagged a gold for the country at the lightweight (60kg) in Gothenburg. The Romanian boxer stopped Germany’s Marco Rudolph in the semi-finals and dominated his final over Soviet Union’s Airat Khamatov. The Soviet Union’s defending European Champion Konstantin Tszyu moved up to the welterweight (63.5kg) and achieved his next title after beating Germany’s Andreas Zülow in the final.

Roberto Welin claimed Sweden’s first European title after 40 years of hiatus since Stig Sjölin won a gold in the 1951 edition. The Swedish welterweight (67kg) boxer impressed in the final against Soviet Union’s Vladimir Ereshchenko and delighted the home crowd in Gothenburg. One of the most experienced boxers from the Soviet Union, Armenian-descent Israel Akopkokhyan defended his throne at the light middleweight (71kg) following his triumph over Germany’s Torsten Schmitz in the final.

Germany’s Henry Maske won the gold medals of the middleweight (75kg) in 1985, in 1987 and in the 1989 editions of the European Boxing Championships. He turned to professional following those triumphs, and he was replaced by Sven Ottke in the national team who continued Germany’s winning path in the weight class controlling his key fights over Soviet Union’s Aleksandr Lebziak and Czechoslovakia’s Michal Franek. His fellow Dariusz Michalczewski amazed against Soviet Union’s Rostyslav Zaulichniy and Netherlands’ next finalist Peter Zwezerijnen.

Netherlands’ double defending champion at the heavyweight (91kg) Arnold Vanderlyde eliminated his main rivals as Yugoslavia’s Croatian boxer Zeljko Mavrovic and Soviet Union’s Evgeniy Sudakov during his road to the finals. The 28-year-old Dutch boxer dominated his final over Greece’s Georgios Stefanopoulos and captured his third European title. The gold medal of the super heavyweight (+91kg) was taken by Soviet Union’s Evgeniy Belousov who had a great victory over Germany’s Andreas Schnieders in the 12th final of the Gothenburg edition.

List of the winners in the 1991 European Boxing Championships

  • Light flyweight (48kg): Ivailo Marinov, Bulgaria (in featured image)
  • Flyweight (51kg): Istvan Kovacs, Hungary
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Serafim Todorov, Bulgaria
  • Featherweight (57kg): Paul Griffin, Ireland
  • Lightweight (60kg): Vasile Nistor, Romania
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Konstantin Tszyu, Soviet Union
  • Welterweight (67kg): Roberto Welin, Sweden
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Israel Akopkokhyan, Soviet Union
  • Middleweight (75kg): Sven Ottke, Germany
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Dariusz Michalczewski, Germany
  • Heavyweight (91kg): Arnold Vanderlyde, Netherlands
  • Super Heavyweight (+91kg): Evgeniy Belousov, Russia
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