Italy’s Irma Testa and Great Britain’s Karriss Artingstall are Europe’s first medallists at the Tokyo Olympic Games28 July 2021
Further twenty-four preliminary bouts and four quarter-finals were held in the fifth competition day at the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan. The first four guaranteed medallists are revealed and among them Europe have got two semi-finalists, Italy’s Irma Testa and Great Britain’s Karriss Artingstall.
Altogether 24 European nations could send boxers to the Olympic Games to Japan where the continent have got 92 tough boxers including 33 women. Many of the European female and male boxers are among the medal and title favourites and title contenders in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
The bout of the day
Netherlands’ Rio 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist and European Games winner Nouchka Fontijn is a favourite at the women’s middleweight (75kg) but she had difficulties against Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik in the first round. The Polish girl surprised her with aggressive attacks and sensational motivation therefore the former Youth Olympic Games winner led 10:9 in each scorecard. Fontijn felt that she needs to do more in this Olympic preliminary bout and turned up the heat in the second. The experienced Dutch used her longer hands better and she has done a great finish in the third round. The referee counted Wojcik in the final round therefore Fontijn’s hand was raised after the last gong.
The surprises of the day
Ireland’s Kurt Walker won the European Games in 2019 but he qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games through the ranking following his unsuccessful mission at the European Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event. The Irish featherweight (57kg) boxer arrived to Japan in amazing form and eliminated Spain’s Jose Quiles as first on Day1. Walker met with Uzbekistan’s AIBA World Champion and Asian Games winner Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov as second and he exceeded all of the expectations in the bout. The 26-year-old Irish shocked the Uzbek star and eliminated the Seed No.1 of the category causing the main surprise of the fifth competition day.
Russian Olympic Committee’s Imam Khataev lost to Kazakhstan’s AIBA World Champion Bekzad Nurdauletov in the Governor Cup three months ago. The smaller Russian light heavyweight (81kg) boxer planned to use different tactic against the top Kazakh. Khataev dictated a fantastic tempo in the first round and he has done enough to take the lead on the scorecards. Nurdauletov, who suffered a few unexpected losses this year, returned to the match in the second but Khataev had enough power to finish his objective successfully and eliminated the Kazakh No.1.
Italy’s Irma Testa eliminated two rivals in the Olympic Games and marched into the quarter-finals of the featherweight (57kg). The EUBC European Women’s Champion Italian is unbeaten this year and she continued her impressive series in the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games. Testa started her contests slowly a few years ago but in the Covid-19 period she learnt how to open a bout in different rhythm. She surprised Canada’s Panamerican Games winner Caroline Veyre with her technical skills in the first round and all judges favoured Testa. The Italian enjoyed the bout and claimed the first medal for Europe in the boxing tournament of the Olympic Games.
Great Britain’s defending AIBA Women’s World Champion Lauren Price won the European Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event in Paris two months ago. The Welsh girl is outstanding in power and she proved it against Mongolia’s Munkhbat Myagmarjargal in the first round. Her Asian opponent has been counted in the opening minutes and could not respond effectively to the strong Welsh boxer. Price dominated all of the three rounds against the Mongolian and advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s middleweight (75kg).
Gazimagomed Jalidov was born in Russia but he joined to the Spanish national team in 2019 and proved his strength in several international tournaments. The Spaniard met with a new Australian sensation, Paulo Aokuso who claimed a surprise silver medal at the Asian & Oceanian Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event. Both boxers had similar fighting style therefore the contest was a remarkable one for all of the experts in Tokyo. Jalidov started slightly better but Aokuso controlled the second round with his jabs therefore the third was the decisive between them. Jalidov was motivated and his stamina decided their contest which means the Spanish advanced to the quarter-finals of the light heavyweight (81kg).
Great Britain’s fabulous Benjamin Whittaker proved his excellent technical skills first in 2017 and he reached several highlights following he moved up to the light heavyweight (81kg). The AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist maintained the distance quickly against Egypt’s veteran Abdelrahman Salah Orabi Abdelgawwad. The All Africa Games winner Egyptian has got 14 years of international experiences but Whittaker was technically too smart for him today.
Great Britain’s Karriss Artingstall was a secret favourite before the start of the event following her amazing preparations and developments. She defeated two strong rivals in the Tokyo Olympic Games and new her next Australian opponent, Skye Nicolson from previous tournaments. Both of them were bronze medallists from previous AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships therefore the high quality was guaranteed in their quarter-final. The British featherweight (57kg) boxer moved ahead and landed a few effective jabs in the first round but Nicolson changed her rhythm in the second. The British Army boxer was fresh enough in the third to beat the Aussie opponent and secured a medal in the Olympic Games, the second European after Irma Testa of Italy.
Russian Olympic Committee’s 34-year-old Zenfira Magomedalieva won titles in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships but mostly at the heavyweight (+81kg) and light heavyweight (81kg). She went down to the middleweight (75kg) due to the Olympic Games and opened her campaign in Tokyo in the fifth days of boxing. Magomedalieva was too quick for United States’ Naomi Graham and took the lead quickly against another veteran rival. The US boxer, who won the Strandja Memorial and the Boxam Tournament this year, was competitive only in the third round therefore Magomedalieva advanced to the last eight. Her teammate, European Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event winner Albert Batyrgaziev had a tough contest at the men’s featherweight (57kg) but he succeeded against Dominican Republic’s Alexis Miguel De La Cruz.
Turkey’s Bayram Malkan was quarter-finalist at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and the 22-year-old boxer advanced also to the last eight in the Tokyo Olympic Games. Malkan controlled the first round against Ghana’s Shakul Samed and decided their unequal bout in the second when the referee confirmed his RSC triumph. Another strong European hope at the light heavyweight (81kg), Minsk 2019 European Games winner ex-Cuban Loren Berto Alfonso of Azerbaijan defeated Uzbekistan’s AIBA World Boxing Championships silver medallist Dilshodbek Ruzmetov.
Credits to Italian boxing federation/ Bozzani for the photos.