Euro 2013 Aiba Point of view: Selby and Russia dominate in Minsk

10 June 2013 News
EUBC European Boxing Championships - Minsk 2013 - Youlia Chepa

EUBC European Boxing Championships – Minsk 2013 – Youlia Chepa

Welshmen Andrew Selby successfully became the first Britain to defend a EUBC European Men’s Continental title in Minsk last week, while the Russians had the dominant team overall.

It was no surprise that the two boxers in the finals of the Flyweight category (52 kg) were Wales’ national hero, AIBA World Championships silver medallist, Andrew Selby and Ireland’s London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist Michael Conlan. In a battle of the Celts, Selby dominated with his jab despite his Irish rival attempting some sensational footwork in a bid to fight back. Selby, who was also the Number one ranked World Series of Boxing (WSB) boxer for his weight group in Season III, continued his winning streak, which has now lasted since the London 2012 Olympics. The result makes the fighter from Barry the first ever British boxer to successfully defend a European title.

In the team stakes meanwhile, Russia bagged five gold medals while Ireland secured two golds in the event. Russia’s London 2012 Olympics bronze medallist David Ayrapetyan got the easiest of these, with Ireland’s two-time Olympic bronze medallist Patrick Barnes being forced to withdraw from the finals. This walk-over gave the Russian boxer his second gold medal in the European Championships with the other being in 2006. Irish head coach Billy Walsh confirmed that “following a meeting with Barnes last night that [they] had decided to withdraw the Belfast man.” He went on to clarify that protecting his athletes was a greater priority than winning titles, stating categorically that “the safety of our boxers is more important than gold medals”.

There was better news for Ireland’s London 2012 Olympics silver medallist John Joseph Nevin, who used his longer reach against Ukraine’s Mykola Butsenko in the final of the Bantamweight category (56 kg). Both finalists were veterans of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season III but the Irish counterpuncher dominated to win his first ever gold medal in the European Championships. “No more taking silver home, I was aiming for the gold this time,” said Nevin. “I have now a whole collection of gold, silver and bronze so I have all the medals now and I’m happy with that.” The Irish icon went on to explain that his preparation was the key factor in winning in Minsk. “We had a great training camp with the Ukrainian boxers and I had sparred with him before I came out here,” said Nevin. The experience with his opponent in training helped the Mullingar man come out on top. “It’s my first gold at a major Championships and I’m delighted with it” he said.

One Russian who did struggle however was former European Youth Champion Aleksandr Besputin who met Germany’s 21-year-old Araik Marutjan in the finals of the Welterweight (69 kg) category. The Russian southpaw could not repeat his amazing semi-final performance leaving him downcast. “I am a bit disappointed,” he said, “I was in good shape throughout the tournament and it was a very close final. All I can do now is look forward to trying to win my next medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty,” said Marutjan after the finals.

By contrast Ireland’s European Olympic Hopes 19-22 Champion Jason Quigley managed a shock upset by beating Ukraine’s AIBA World Champion Ievgen Khytrov in the semi-finals and beat Romania’s World Championships bronze medallist Bogdan Juratoni in the final as well. “Paddy Barnes and the boys can’t slag me anymore now for having underage [Junior] European gold,” the young Irishman joked. “The plan was just to win the first round. I have been through a hell of a week. I boxed the number one yesterday, I beat him. I also boxed the number four and I boxed the number two in the final. I didn’t get an easy draw, but I took them all out of it,” he added after what was his 25th successive win. 

Copyright © 2013 AIBA

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