Captain Conlan makes history for Ireland while Cuba and Russia claim double gold on first day of AIBA World Championship finals in Doha15 October 2015
Wednesday night was finals night in Doha, and confirmation of the first five World Champions at light flyweight, bantamweight, light welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight at a packed Ali Bin Hamad Ali Attiyah Arena.
Russia’s WSB southpaw Vasilii Egorov faced off against fleet-footed Cuban Joahnys Argilagos in the opening bout. Argilagos’ greater agility proved decisive in all three rounds, the Cuban becoming the first World Champion of 2015.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev was immediately on the front foot against Michael Conlan, but the Irish captain responded well in the second round and despite hitting the canvas in the third, he had already done enough to win the bout and become Ireland’s first-ever World Champion.
“I came out for the gold medal and I got it, I’m absolutely delighted, thrilled. I would like to thank my coaches and my family and everyone for the tremendous support here all week, the supporters were fantastic. I knew he was going to be tough and that’s the way it turned out. I’ll be going to Rio as the world champion. I’ll have to wait for that to sink in,” said a delighted Conlan afterwards.
Russia’s Vitaly Dunaytsev did just enough in the edgy opening rounds against Uzbekistan’s Fazliddin Gaibnazarov to take the light welterweight gold medal, the reigning European Champion adding World Champion title to an impressive season.
Previously unbeaten Bektemir Melikuziev’s counter-attacking style had taken him all the way to Wednesday’s middleweight final against Arlen Lopez. The Cuban didn’t give his Uzbek opponent any opportunities to score enough meaningful punches in the first two rounds, however, and despite a late rally, it was Lopez who took the World Champion title.
Erislandy Savon relied heavily on his strong counter punches against Russian Evgeny Tishchenko in the opening round of the heavyweight final. Tishchenko’s front-foot attack gave him the advantage, before the Cuban came back strongly in round two. It wasn’t to be Savon’s night, however, as the Russian prevented a Havana hat-trick of golds to take the title.
Earlier in the session, box-offs between four bronze medalists saw Olympic qualification move a huge step closer for Belarusian bantamweight Dzmitry Asanau and Egypt’s middleweight Hosam Abdin, while Wuttichai Masuk was awarded a walkover, with Cuban Yasniel Toledo unable to box for medical reasons.