Durkacz, Guler and Rusinov exceeded the expectations with their successes at the Strandja Memorial Tournament18 February 2019
Another long program with 70 bouts was held in the 70th Strandja Memorial Tournament in the Bulgarian capital where the winners of the fourth competition day all advanced to the semi-finals. In the day of the surprises Poland’s Damian Durkacz, Turkey’s Serhat Guler and Bulgaria’s Kiril Rusinov exceeded the expectations with their successes.
Finally 37 nations sent their boxers to the new Strandja Memorial Tournament and next to the quantity the quality is world class in Sofia. Altogether 103 women and 193 men boxers are fighting for the medals in the Strandja Memorial Tournament. The total number of 296 boxer means the current Strandja Memorial Tournament is a small World Championships in Sofia once again.
Bout of the day
Russia’s Bakhtovar Nazirov claimed gold medal in the Baku 2015 European Games and he attended in the Doha AIBA World Boxing Championships in the same year. The 24-year-old Russian bantamweight (56kg) boxer is the defending National Champion who regained his place in their top team. Nazirov had to meet in the quarter-final of the category with Bulgaria’s teenage sensation Boyan Asenov who claimed bronze in the 2018 EUBC European Confederation U22 Boxing Championships. The more experienced Russian started better but Asenov also found his best fighting distance therefore the final result was depended on their performance in the last round. Nazirov was slightly better in the last minutes and eliminated his top Bulgarian rival by split decision.
Surprises of the day
Bulgaria’s Kiril Rusinov is a boxer who never stops attacking but his rival was Morocco’s Rio 2016 Olympian and AFBC African Champion Mohamed Hamout in the quarter-finals of the men’s lightweight (60kg). The younger Bulgarian moved forward from the first seconds, caught his Moroccan rival and his style was uncomfortable for Hamout. The final verdict was split decision to Rusinov who bowed out a gold medal favourite in Sofia.
Poland’s light welterweight (64kg) No.1 Damian Durkacz is four-year younger than Italy’s EUBC European Confederation U22 Boxing Championships bronze medallist Paolo Di Lernia but his attacking style paid off in their contest which was another surprise on Day4. Turkey’s Serhat Guler developed well in the recent two years but his success over Azerbaijan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Kamran Shakhsuvarly was a big upset in the men’s middleweight (75kg).
Greece’s Aikaterini Koutsogeorgopoulou claimed silver medal in the last edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament one year ago and following her narrow success over Italy’s Camilla Fadda she marched to the semi-finals of the women’s flyweight (51kg). Another strong hope in the same category Poland’s Baku 2015 European Games silver medallist Sandra Drabik was slightly better than Serbia’s best female boxer Nina Radovanovic in the quarter-finals.
Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Women’s Champion and Jeju 2014 AIBA Women’s World Champion Stanimira Petrova continued her winning path in Sofia and eliminated Somalia’s London-based Ramla Ali in the quarter-finals of the featherweight (57kg). Italy’s Rio 2016 Olympian Irma Testa moved back to her best category to the featherweight (57kg) and impressed against Brazil’s Jucielen Romeu in Sofia.
Netherlands’ EUBC European Youth Champion Chelsey Heijnen was in different level than Italy’s Monica Floridia at the light welterweight (64kg) and the 19-year-old talent advanced to the semi-finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament. Another Italian a more experienced fighter Baku 2015 European Games silver medallist Valentina Alberti was too strong for Greece’s Dimitra Toussa in the same category.
Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov is on the best path to win the title of the men’s flyweight (52kg) and bowed out from his way France’s EUBC European Youth Champion Billal Bennama on Day4. Asenov’s main rival Ukraine’s Doha 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Dmytro Zamotayev was slightly better than China’s new hope Ma Xinming in Sofia.
Sweden’s Liridon Nuha caused a big surprise in the previous round of the light heavyweight (81kg) but Russia’s Imam Khataev was too strong for him in the fourth competition day. Switzerland’s FISU University World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Uke Smajli eliminated Bulgaria’s Plamen Petkov by split decision in the previous stage and he has done the same close victory against Azerbaijan’s Rauf Rahimov.