History is in the making – Albania, Belgium, Scotland and Serbia won their first AIBA elite medals

04 November 2021 News

Fourteen European nations earned medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia on Day9 during the quarter-finals. Albania, Belgium, Scotland and Serbia never claimed any medals in the history of the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships.

The Russian Boxing Federation, Georgia, France, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Italy, Belgium, Armenia, Turkey, Scotland, Albania, Ukraine, Serbia and Spain are the medallist nations in the European Boxing Confederation.   

Following nine preliminary and quarter-final competition days, 446 bouts are concluded in the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships where the total number of boxers is 510 from 88 nations representing four Confederations. Among the 88 countries, 38 arrived from the European continent which competes with 246 boxers in Serbia’s capital city. The Technical Delegate of the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships is Mr. Marko Marovic of Croatia.  

The bout of the day

Belgium worked hard in the recent years to reach the level of the top boxers and their coaching staff are exceptional in terms of development. Their Victor Schelstraete moved ahead in the international events step by step and he proved his excellent physical skills several times. The Belgian boxer believed in himself and continued the hard work despite of some failures and moved back to the new cruiserweight (86kg). Schelstraete not only impressed in the whole event but he was able to use his longer hands more successfully from the second round against England’s Conner Tudsbury. His stamina and condition delivered for him a close success and Belgium’s first ever medal in the history of the AIBA World Boxing Championships.

The surprise of the day

Georgia’s Lasha Guruli achieved the gold medal at the 2018 EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships in Targu Jiu but he had some unexpected losses in the big competitions. The 25-year-old Georgian competes at the welterweight (67kg) which is more perfect for his physical skills. Guruli lost less weight and he saved his power which was requiring for him in the quarter-final against Cuba’s Kevin Hayler Brown who claimed gold at the 2012 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships. The Cuban started the contest better but Guruli was able to adopt the level and his smart strategy delivered for him a superb success on Day9.

The Round-Up

Georgia’s EUBC European Youth Champion Sakhil Alakhverdovi is currently 22 but he spent the recent years in major championships to increase his experiences. Alakhverdovi was excellent in the first round against Kyrgyzstan’s Mirlan Turkbay Uulu and he opened their quarter-final with tough punches. Alakhverdovi controlled also the second round and won their minimumweight (48kg) quarter-final earning the first medal for Europe. He is the first Georgian boxer who earned a medal in the AIBA World Boxing Championships since Otar Eranosyan’s bronze in 2017.

France’s Billal Bennama achieved bronze medal at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and he is one of the most experienced boxers at the bantamweight (54kg) despite of his age of 23. The French boxer was careful with the Kyrgyz National Champion, Sanzhai Seidakmatov who is a strong puncher but smaller than Bennama. The French used his long-distance tactic in the contest and he controlled the younger Central Asian boxer with his counter-punches. Bennama achieved his second medal in the history of the AIBA World Boxing Championships after the Yekaterinburg edition.

The head coach of the French national team, Mr. Luis Mariano Gonzalez and his staff ran to the warm-up area to prepare their next boxer, Sofiane Oumiha to the quarter-final. The 27-year-old Oumiha is the most successful boxer of their team who claimed gold at the Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships. Oumiha had a strong rival, Kazakhstan’s ASBC Asian Youth Champion Samatali Toltayev who tried to catch the quick French. Oumiha landed some excellent counter-shots which stopped the Kazakh and after that he can prepare to his second semi-final after Hamburg.

Russian Boxing Federation’s Sharabutdin Atayev is one of the biggest punchers at the cruiserweight (86kg) but he could not catch the quick Azeri boxer, Loren Berto Alfonso in their quarter-final. The European Games winner ex-Cuban used his impressive technical skills and his opponent’s faults to land jabs. Alfonso competed at the previous light heavyweight (81kg) but the new category is also perfect for him which he demonstrated in the quarter-finals of the AIBA World Boxing Championships.

Armenia’s Davit Chaloyan regained his place in their elite national team after a few years of break following his gold medal in their National Championships. The Armenian super heavyweight (+92kg) boxer was a dark horse before the start of the AIBA World Boxing Championships but he exceeded his previous expectations. The 24-year-old boxer moved forward against strong rivals and he proved his amazing fighting spirit in the quarter-finals against Uzbekistan’s Lazizbek Mullojonov. Chaloyan had disadvantage after the first round but his rhythm change delivered a success for him in the quarter-finals. He will be boxing for the final with Azerbaijan’s Mahammad Abdullayev which could be the next highlight of the championships.

Scotland’s Reese Lynch had a strong mission in the quarter-finals of the light welterweight (63.5kg), he was planning to be the first Scotsman who earns medal in an AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships. The 20-year-old talent surprised Kazakhstan’s Sanatali Toltayev with his effective jabs in the first round of their light welterweight (63.5kg) quarter-final. The Scottish talent gave in everything to this emotional contest and despite of Toltayev’s great finish, Lynch became his nation’s first medallist. 

The Belarusian delegation exceeded their expectations and previous chances in Belgrade, the country claimed two guaranteed medals in the event. Yauheni Karmilchyk spent a very short time in the ring and the referee confirmed his RSC success against Mongolia’s Gan-Erdene Gankhuyag at the minimumweight (48kg). His teammate, Aliaksei Alfiorau had cuts after the last preliminary round but he was able to compete in the ninth competition day and defeated Ireland’s Keylan Cassidy at the light heavyweight (80kg).

Serbia’s ex-Russian hope Vladimir Mironchikov had disadvantage in the quarter-finals of the light heavyweight (80kg) against Kazakhstan’s Nurbek Oralbay after three minutes but the local boxer was able to turn back the result. Mironchikov had a fantastic finish and his excellent stamina means that he won Serbia’s first ever medal since country independent. Spain’s No.1 Emmanuel Reyes also delivered the medal for his nation following his success over a US boxer, Jamar Talley at the heavyweight (92kg).

The quote of the day

“It is not so easy to talk after this bout. I have no words for this result and what I achieved today in Belgrade. I am the first ever Belgian boxer who earned medal in the AIBA World Boxing Championships. My English opponent was very strong today and I tried to land more punches from my distance. I am so tired now of course but after the rest day I will be ready to the next fight,” said Belgium’s cruiserweight (86kg) Victor Schelstraete after his amazing success.

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