Hovhannisyan, Gomtsyan, Escobar and Sharafa were the heroes of Day4 in the European Games28 June 2019
A long program was held in the fourth preliminary day in the European Games in Minsk, Belarus where the winners advanced to the quarter-finals. Armenia’s Gurgen Hovhannisyan, Georgia’s Artyush Gomtsyan, Spain’s Gabriel Escobar and Germany’s veteran Raman Sharafa were the main stars of Day4.
Altogether 317 boxers including 59 women are attending in the European Games from record number of 44 nations in Minsk, Belarus. The following nations are taking part in the European Games: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Great-Britain, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Northern Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine.
The bout of the day
Armenia’s Gurgen Hovhannisyan defeated Cuba’s Jose Angel Larduet in the Governor Cup in St. Petersburg last month and arrived to the venue of the European Games in top shape. The 21-year-old Armenian super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer met with Turkey’s Mucahit Ilyas in a unique contest which was the match of the next generation. The Turkish boxer felt the rhythm and the distance well in the first round and landed more clear punches in their opening exchanges. Hovhannisyan knew that he has to show more from the second round and launched rapid attacks. The Armenian talent gave in everything to turn back their narrow fight and he was succeeded.
Surprises of the day
Germany’s Raman Sharafa is a veteran boxer who returned to the national team a few months ago after four years of break. The 36-year-old German bantamweight (56kg) boxer started well against Spain’s Jose Quiles who claimed bronze in the last edition of the EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships. The Spanish boxer found his best rhythm in the beginning of the third round when Sharafa looked more tired but it was too late for turn back their fight which was the first surprise of the day.
Georgia’s Artyush Gomtsyan achieved bronze medal in the EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships this March but he is not an experienced boxer in the international stages yet. The Georgian bantamweight (56kg) boxer did not have an ideal opponent in the last 16 as he had to meet with Russia’s defending European Games winner Bakhtovar Nazirov. The Georgian boxer shocked his Russian opponent in the first round and he was able to keep continue that tempo in the second. Nazirov had a great finish in the third but Gomtsyan remained on the top and eliminated the titleholder in Minsk.
England’s defending EUBC European Champion Peter McGrail had to meet in the last 16 with a promising boxer, Belgium’s Vasile Usturoi who eliminated Hungary’s Nandor Csoka in the first preliminary round which was a surprise result. McGrail did not underestimate his Belgian rival and used his world class footwork to take the lead. The 23-year-old English star produced fantastic final round in their bantamweight (56kg) contest and secured his place in the last eight.
Albania’s most experienced national team member Krenar Zeneli had a sensational fight against Switzerland’s Tiago Pugno on Day4. The Albanian boxer started the first round strongly and took the lead in each scorecard after three minutes of fight. The Swiss boxer received effective advices in the first break and returned to the match in the second round. The final verdict was depended on their performance in the last round when Zeneli was still enough fresh to win their bantamweight (56kg) bout.
Ukraine’s AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Mykola Butsenko and Azerbaijan’s top boxer Tayfur Aliyev had another superb fight at the bantamweight (56kg). The four-year younger Azeri boxer was motivated in the first round but Butsenko’s experiences ruled the bout from the second. The Ukrainian boxer was impressive in the third round and eliminated Azerbaijan’s 2015 European Games bronze medallist.
Another Ukrainian star the defending champion of the super heavyweight (+91kg) Viktor Vykhryst stepped into the ring and met with Russia’s National Champion Ivan Veriasov in Minsk. The Ukrainian boxer had a few difficulties in the first round when Veriasov used his tough jabs to control the opening minutes. The Ukrainian stepped into the gas in the second round and his rhythm was uncomfortable for former EUBC European Youth Champion Veriasov and bowed out the Russian No.1.
Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov is only 22 but he is one of the best boxers at the flyweight (52kg) in the whole world. The Bulgarian star prepared well tactically against Germany’s dangerous and experienced Hamza Touba. The taller Rio 2016 Olympian German boxer tried to keep his opponent long but Asenov’s footwork was world class once again in their fight which means the Bulgarian advanced to the last eight.
Great Britain’s Rio 2016 Olympian Galal Yafai was silver medallist in the last edition of the EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships in Kharkiv but since then he moved up to the flyweight (52kg). Yafai’s opponent was Hungary’s Martin Virban who was not able to handle the British attack on Day4. Following Yafai’s success his strong teammate Pat McCormack dominated his fight against Estonia’s Pavel Kamanin. The referee had to count the Estonian boxer in the second round in a bout which was demonstrate McCormack’s world class skills.
Spain’s two-time EUBC European Confederation U22 Boxing Championships silver medallist and Mediterranean Games winner Gabriel Escobar is one of the best flyweight (52kg) boxers in our continent besides to Asenov and Yafai. The Spanish boxer was quicker than Russia’s National Champion Vadim Kudriakov and eliminated a tough rival securing his place in the last eight.
Following her junior and youth successes Hungary’s Vivien Budai lost all of her international contests this year closely but proved developments on these fights. The 20-year-old Hungarian welterweight (69kg) boxer was slightly better than Azerbaijan’s Maryam Jabrayilova and celebrated her success after the last gong. In this category Ireland’s Grainne Walsh eliminated a favourite Great Britain’s Rosie Eccles in a top bout.