France’s AIBA World Champion Sofiane Oumiha had to work strongly to reach the semi-finals in the Gee Bee Tournament

08 March 2019 News

The quarter-finals of the 38th edition of the Gee Bee Tournament were held in Helsinki where all of the winners of today’s contests are now guaranteed medallists. France’s current AIBA World Champion opened his campaign in the Gee Bee Tournament and he needed to do his very best to eliminate Netherlands’ Enrico La Cruz in a top contest.

The Gee Bee Tournament is a strong preparation event for the upcoming Minsk 2019 European Games and for the Bangkok 2019 ASBC Asian Confederation Boxing Championships. The Gee Bee Tournament is stronger than in the previous years following many of the top nations including Russia, France, England, United States of America, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Australia, Canada, Kyrgyzstan and India are attending in the event.

Bout of the day

France’s defending AIBA World Champion and Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Sofiane Oumiha is unbeaten since June 2017 and he was named as the Best EUBC European Man’s Elite Boxer in 2018. Oumiha moved up to the light welterweight (64kg) in the recent months and started his campaign in the Gee Bee Tournament against such strong rival as Netherlands’ EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships bronze medallist Enrico La Cruz. The 25-year-old French boxer was a hard target for Rio 2016 Olympian La Cruz in their tactical bout which was world class level as expected. The 25-year-old French avoided the Dutch attacks successfully and his counter-punches worked well which meant their contest was won by Oumiha by split decision in Helsinki.

Surprise of the day

Finland’s Arslan Khataev was silver medallist in the 2015 EUBC European Confederation Youth Boxing Championships and following his 20thbirthday he is now enough skilled to win contests in the elite level. The Finnish lightweight (60kg) boxer, who trains with coach Karre Anttonen, impressed in his quarter-final against Kazakhstan’s well-experienced Bagdat Uaidayev and felt the support of the local crowd. Southpaw Khataev controlled the bout overcoming in the attacks his powerful Kazakh opponent and advanced to the last four in the Gee Bee Tournament.


France’s Jordan Rodriguez has been attending in the international events since 2013 and claimed high number of medals on various tournaments. The French bantamweight (56kg) boxer used his long distance style against Australia’s Commonwealth Youth Games winner Jack Bowen and landed punches with perfect timing. The French boxer controlled all of the rounds against his younger Aussie rival and advanced to the last four in Helsinki.

Russia’s Youth Olympic Games winner and EUBC European Youth Champion 18-year-old Ilia Popov joined to the elite age group only this January but he won his second bout in the Gee Bee Tournament today. Popov was slightly better than Canada’s Thomas Blumenfeld in the first competition day and he tried to keep the control until the final bell against Finland’s Niazz Ahmadi. The Russian light welterweight (64kg) boxer caught his Finnish rival in the corner near to the canvas and eliminated the local favourite.

England’s EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships silver medallist EUBC European U22 Champion Luke McCormack eliminated his first Asian rival India’s Ankit Khatana on Day1 and continued his winning path in the second competition day. The 24-year-old English light welterweight (64kg) boxer stepped into the gas from the second round against Thailand’s Youth Olympic Games winner and AIBA Youth World Champion Atichai Phoemsap. McCormack performed world class in the second round and eliminated his teenage rival in Helsinki.

England’s Benjamin Whittaker moved up to the light heavyweight (81kg) in the recent half year following his unexpected loss at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The defending EUBC European Union Champion played with Sweden’s King of the Ring Tournament winner Liridon Nuha from the first round using his longer reach. Whittaker strongly developed in all of his physical skills and his height advantage made his dominancy comfortable against his Swedish rival on Day2.

Russia’s Darima Sandakova is the defending EUBC European Women’s Champion at the middleweight (75kg) but the Ulan-Ude-based boxer decided to move down one category. The 23-year-old Russian was smaller than Sweden’s Malena Hede but she was able to reach her opponent with quick attacks. Sandakova landed stronger punches and her Swedish rival had to go to the medical corner twice. The Russian hope was still quicker and had more power in the third round therefore the final verdict was unanimous to Sandakova.


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