Italy’s Francesco Maietta returned to the winning path in the Strandja Memorial Tournament01 February 2020
The female and male semi-finals were held at the 71st edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria during the fourth competition day. Italy’s Francesco Maietta returned to the top level of boxing and enjoyed his semi-final against a top opponent. The dream finals at the women’s lightweight (60kg) and at the men’s flyweight (52kg) have been realized in Sofia which could be the most anticipating fights in the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
The Bulgarian Boxing Federation is always a professional organizer with plenty of organizational experiences since 2012. The total number of 253 boxers representing 34 teams from four different Confederations which means the 71stedition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament is another small World Championships in Sofia.
The following 34 nations are taking part in the event: Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Poland, Refugee Team, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United States of America.
Bout of the day
Italy’s Francesco Maietta claimed bronze medal in the 2015 EUBC European Elite Boxing Championships in Samokov at the age of 19. He returned to Bulgaria and after a few poor years, he performed well in the semi-finals of the men’s bantamweight (57kg). Maietta met with Bulgaria’s Boyan Asenov who is one of the most promising Europeans in this weight class. The Italian was never stopped attacking in their semi-final and his finish became impressive in Sofia. The referee counted the younger Bulgarian in the last round which means Maietta can box for the title with Ukraine’s Mykola Butsenko.
The surprise of the day
Ukraine’s Iulia Tsyplakova is a veteran boxer who has got more than 200 contests already during her boxing career but she was not the favourite against India’s Sonia Lather Singh who achieved silver medal at the 2016 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. Following the first tactical round, the Ukrainian boxer turned up the heat and she launched more punches than her Asian opponent. The Indian, who won almost all of her contests in 2019, had a great finish in their bout but Tsyplakova had the decision which means the Ukrainian can meet for the title with United States’ young hope, Andrea Medina.
United States’ Christina Cruz has been attending in the international stages since 2006 and she had more experienced than Moldova’s Iulia Coroli. Both boxers moved down to the flyweight (51kg) this year due the chance of the Olympic Games. The US veteran landed better punches especially in the second part of the bout against the Moldovan who had good footwork in their semi-final. Cruz will be meeting for the title of the Strandja Memorial Tournament with her teammate Virginia Fuchs who eliminated Bulgaria’s Gabriela Dimitrova in the second semi-final.
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington claimed gold medal at the lightweight (60kg) in the 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships followed Katie Taylor’s pathway in that category. The Irish boxer, who was awarded as the Best European Woman Boxer in 2018, recovered from her injury and dominated her next fight against Bulgaria’s veteran Denitsa Eliseeva. The Irish girl was quicker and more effective in their semi-finals therefore she can prepare to her final at the Strandja Memorial Tournament. Harrington will be boxing for the gold medal with her main European rival Finland’s Mira Potkonen who eliminated Sweden’s Agnes Alexiusson on their re-match.
France’s Emilie Sonvico was involved to the national team only in 2018 but after 50 bouts she is one of the key European boxers at the women’s welterweight (69kg). The French boxer eliminated favourites during her road to the last four and she was still hungry for the next success. Sonvico used her strong punches to catch her taller opponent Poland’s European Games winner Karolina Koszewska and she succeeded in their semi-final. The French marched to the finals of the tournament and will be meeting for the title with United States’ Oshae Jones who bowed out Bulgaria’s Melis Yonuzova.
The second French female semi-finalist was former Youth Olympian Davina Michel who worked hard to reach the top European level at the middleweight (75kg). Michel, who was born in the island of Guadeloupe, used her height well to keep the best fighting distance against Ukraine’s AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Anastasia Chernokolenko. Michel produced her best round in the second and her clear success means that she can also box for the gold medal as second French in Sofia where her final opponent will be United States’ Naomi Graham.
Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion and Rio 2016 Olympian Daniel Asenov produced another remarkable performance in the semi-finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament. The 22-year-old Bulgarian flyweight (52kg) boxer had to face with United States’ Anthony Herrera in the last four and after the closer first round, Asenov was in different level. The Bulgarian No.1 dominated the second and third rounds therefore the dream final and the repeat match of the title bout of the European Games have been realized against Spain’s Gabriel Escobar.
Georgia’s Lasha Guruli was EUBC European U22 Champion in 2018 and following his few bouts at the welterweight (69kg), he returned to the lightweight (63kg). The Georgian is tall in this division but has got also enough strength to land effective jabs in his contests. Guruli met in the semi-finals with India’s former ASBC Asian Champion Shiva Thapa who is a two-time Olympian boxer. The Georgian used his distance in the first round and his counter-attacks were successful in the opening minutes. Guruli proved also his strength and knocked down his Indian rival in the second which determined the final result of their semi-final.
Spain’s Emmanuel Reyes became one of the best European boxers at the heavyweight (91kg) following his change from Cuba. The Spanish boxer was slightly better in the exchanges when he met with Ukraine’s Serhii Horskov in the semi-finals. Reyes won the bout by split decision and marched to the finals as second Spanish boxer after their European Games winner Gabriel Escobar. Reyes will be boxing for the title of the Strandja Memorial Tournament with Bulgaria’s Radoslav Pantaleev.