Lithuania’s Vytautas Balsys returned with a great triumph at the Algirdas Socikas Tournament17 October 2020
The second competition day of the new edition of the Algirdas Socikas Tournament was held in the city of Kaunas. Lithuania’s Vytautas Balsys defeated his main rival, Finland’s Muhammad Abdilrasoon at the middleweight (75kg) and advanced to the final of the event. The 15 winners of the semi-finals all remained their chance alive to win the title of the Algirdas Socikas Tournament.
Six-time Soviet National Champion Mr. Algirdas Socikas was one of the heroes of Lithuania’s boxing life in the past who won the European Boxing Championships two-times in 1953 in Warsaw and in 1955 in West Berlin. He reached the quarter-finals at the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games and won the Baltic Championships three-times. Lithuania’s most important elite international boxing tournament was named after their national boxing icon.
Lithuania hosted the Danas Pozniakas Youth Tournament on March before the Covid-19 pandemic, their next international activity was the Algirdas Socikas Tournament in Kaunas. 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 Lithuania to avoid any new Covid-19 cases in the event.
The bout of the day
Lithuania’s Vytautas Balsys earned silver medal at the Anapa 2016 EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships. Since that event, he competed in the U22 and elite levels but Balsys was not able to make the real breakthrough to reach the top of the European boxers. The 22-year-old middleweight (75kg) talent faced in the semi-finals with Finland’s Muhammad Abdilrasoon who also had excellent junior, youth and U22 results in the recent years. Balsys tried to find the best attacking angles from the first seconds and he was brave in all of his actions. Their exchanges delivered similar number of punches and due to his stamina Balsys was able to win their narrow fight on Day2. His final opponent will be Czech Republic’s Milos Bartl who defeated Lithuania’s Aleksandras Mironovas in Kaunas.
The surprise of the day
Israel’s Pavlo Ishchenko was Olympian in London eight years ago and he claimed the gold medal at the Minsk 2013 EUBC European Boxing Championships representing Ukraine on these top events. He switched to Israel a few years ago and returned to the sport but he was not able to deliver his medium performance in the second day of boxing against Lithuania’s Gilvinas Lukosiunas. His Lithuanian opponent adopted the level of the bout and surprisingly he was not only competitive but he defeated Israel’s most experienced boxer.
Lithuania’s Marius Vysniauskas is a veteran boxer at the flyweight (52kg) who has been attending in the international events since 2004. He competed already at the 2006 European Boxing Championships and returned to the world of boxing with great enthusiasm. The 34-year-old boxer was too strong for Poland’s Przemyslaw Janczuk and controlled all of the three rounds in their fight. Vysniauskas landed the stronger punches which means he will be meeting for the gold medal with his teammate, Deimantas Baravykas.
Pavlo Ishchenko’s younger brother Miroslav Kapuler also changed his nationality and he has been representing Israel since 2017. The 23-year-old welterweight (69kg) boxer had a tactical advantage against Lithuania’s Saimonas Banys and eliminated the local favourite in the Algirdas Socikas Tournament. Israel’s lone finalist will be boxing for the gold medal with Scotland’s Stephen Newns who bowed out Poland’s Lukasz Zygula in the second semi-final of the weight class.
Lithuania has got strong tradition at the super heavyweight (+91kg) and two of their talents advanced to the finals in that category in Kaunas. Firstly, National Champion Algirdas Baniulis eliminated Scotland’s newcomer Nicholas Campbell in the semi-final of the weight class. Secondly, Jonas Jazevicius dominated his bout over AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships competitor Liudvikas Lagunavicius.