Luxembourg’s Michel Erpelding won a historical gold medal at the Algirdas Socikas Tournament04 April 2022
The 26th Algirdas Socikas Tournament was a parallel event next to the Belgrade Winner Tournament and strong countries joined to the elite competition in Kaunas, Lithuania. Following the Danas Pozniakas Youth Tournament, the Algirdas Socikas was their next international activity. Luxembourg’s Michel Erpelding made history for his small nation, he earned a fantastic gold medal at the cruiserweight (86kg) in Kaunas.
Many of the European nations used the Algirdas Socikas Tournament as preparations for the upcoming EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships and Commonwealth Games. The Technical Delegate of the Algirdas Socikas Tournament was Mr. Dragoljub Radovic of Montenegro.
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 repeated it in 1955 in West Berlin. Lithuania’s most important elite international boxing tournament was named after their national boxing icon who earned gold medals in several other events too.
The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, the mask wearing, the vaccine checks and all of the health controls were the responsibility of the local organizers in Lithuania to avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the Algirdas Socikas Tournament.
The bout of the day
Pawel Brach is a young Polish talent who received the right to attend in the Belgrade 2021 AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships short after his 20th birthday. The Polish boxer is relatively small at the men’s featherweight (57kg) but he uses his attacking style to reduce the fighting distance successfully in his contests. Brach, who had plenty of international experiences as junior, youth and U22 boxer, met with Armenia’s Rudolf Garboyan for the title in Kaunas. The Armenian was highly competitive for the Polish talent and after two rounds their final was still open. The final verdict was depended on their performance in the last round when Brach had enough power to win their narrow contest.
The surprise of the day
Luxembourg competed in several events until the 1960s but since then their boxing life was not enough strong to produce international level boxers. Their new hope Michel Erpelding attended in various international competitions in the recent four years but he is not an experienced competitor yet. Luxembourg’s new pride moved up to the cruiserweight (86kg) and surprised Poland’s Tomasz Niedzwiecki in the first round. Erpelding landed seriously tough shots and following his actions the ringside doctor stopped their contest in Kaunas.
Poland’s Elzbieta Wojcik won all of the three top youth championships in 2014 and joined to their elite national team one year later. The currently 26-year-old Polish middleweight (75kg) boxer achieved medals in several events as elite but she was not able to do the real breakthrough yet. Wojcik returned to the national team in top form and defeated Lithuania’s Augustina Markelionyte in the final of the category. Her teammate, Agata Kaczmarska earned the title of the light heavyweight (81kg) after beating Lithuania’s best female boxer, Gabriele Stonkute in a hectic bout.
Scotland arrived to the Algirdas Socikas Tournament with a strong and young team to increase their international experiences. Their flyweight (51kg) talent, Lennon Mulligan was motivated in the whole competition and he looked better in all aspects of boxing than Estonia’s Allan Morozov. The second Scottish gold medal was achieved by Sean Lazzerini who not only returned to the national team but he dominated his light heavyweight (80kg) final against Poland’s Mateusz Goinski.
Lithuania’s best male boxer Edgaras Skurdelis was near to get a medal in the Belgrade 2021 AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships but he lost his narrow quarter-final bout. The Lithuanian lightweight (60kg) boxer controlled all of the three rounds against Armenia’s Zhorzhik Marutyan and won his next Socikas title in Vilnius. His teammate, Jonas Jazevicius was in different level in all aspects of boxing when he met with Czech Republic’s Martin Pinc and his strong shots decided their super heavyweight (+92kg) final.
Damian Durkacz qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games and he has strong plans for 2022 and he is aiming to get a medal at the EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships. The Polish welterweight (67kg) boxer caught Lithuania’s youngster Nedas Gudomskas in the second round and his opponent’s ringside abandoned the final. Poland’s Mateusz Bereznicki will be turning only to 21 this year but he had the skills and experiences to beat Lithuania’s Tomas Olberkis in the final of the heavyweight (92kg).