Khyzhniak and Okhota delighted Ukraine at the Strandja Memorial Tournament on Day224 February 2021
An amazing competition day was held at the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria where 64 bouts took place according to the official schedule. Ukraine’s AIBA World Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak and a female hope Hanna Okhota both won their contests with upgraded performance.
The Strandja Memorial is Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament and has got a strong brand name therefore high number of stars compete there in the new edition. Altogether 220 boxers including 91 women athletes are attending from 30 nations at the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
The following 30 nations are attending in the Strandja Memorial Tournament: Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Morocco, Moldova, Mali, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America and Uzbekistan.
The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, wearing masks and all of the health controls are the responsibility of the local organizers in Sofia to avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
The bout of the day
Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota claimed silver medal at the light flyweight (48kg) in the New Delhi 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The Ukrainian moved up to the flyweight (51kg) due to the chance of the Tokyo Olympic Games and she tries to adopt the level of the stronger punches. Okhota moved ahead and reduced the fighting distance against Armenia’s EUBC European U22 Champion Anush Grigoryan. The Ukrainian pressurized the Armenian boxer who has got nice technical skills but Okhota’s style was too strong for her in the second day of boxing.
The surprise of the day
Kazakhstan’s Nurkanat Raiys achieved silver medal in their 2020 National Championships at the middleweight (75kg) which was a surprise. The young and inexperienced Kazakh boxer exceeded all of the previous expectations in the Strandja Memorial Tournament on Day2. Raiys prepared to a tough battle against Armenia’s AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Arman Darchinyan and surprisingly he was able to dictate the tempo. The final verdict was unanimous decision in the favour of Raiys who bowed out a gold medal contender in Sofia.
United States’ AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Naomi Graham was the favourite in her first contest at the middleweight (75kg) but Ukraine’s Anastasia Chernokolenko had a strong attempt to beat the US veteran. Graham found the best rhythm in time and her effective punches delivered for her a place in the next stage of boxing. Turkey’s experienced Sennur Demir also won her contest in the same weight category after beating Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik.
Javier Ibanez won several medals for Cuba especially as a youth boxer but he switched to Bulgaria in the recent two years and attended in the Strandja Memorial Tournament representing his new nation. The Bulgarian featherweight (57kg) boxer had better footwork than Finland’s Arslan Khataev and caught his Northern European rival. Finland’s best male boxer increased also his rhythm in the bout but Ibanez worked well to win his preliminary bout in Sofia.
Brazil’s Wanderson Oliveira joined to the national team four years ago and reached the quarter-finals at the Yekaterinburg 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships. The Brazilian lightweight (63kg) boxer was patient and followed his strategy well against Ukraine’s EUBC European Champion Yuriy Shestak in Sofia. Oliveira was a hard target for the Ukrainian and eliminated one of his top rivals in the Strandja Memorial Tournament. Among the other gold medal contenders of the weight category, Uzbekistan’s Asadkhudja Muydinkhudjayev and Russia’s Ilia Popov also won their contests on Day2.
Ukraine’s AIBA World Champion and EUBC European Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak has got gold medal expectations in the upcoming big events and arrived to the venue of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in top shape. The Ukrainian middleweight (75kg) boxer spent only one minute in the competition on Day2 when his RSC success was confirmed by the referee over Brazil’s Isaias Ribeiro. Turkey’s experienced Serhat Guler and Sweden’s Adam Chartoi both advanced to the quarter-finals in this weight category.