Maske, Kaden and Vanderlyde defended their titles at the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships

27 July 2020 News

The 28th edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in the Athens, Greece which was the biggest competition in the Southern European country until 1989. East Germany’s Henry Maske claimed his third European title in Athens but his fellow Ulli Kaden and Netherlands’ Arnold Vanderlyde also defended their thrones.

The first competition day of the 1989 European Boxing Championships was May 29 in Athens while the finals were held on June 3. There was not any rest day in the competition between the semi-finals and the finals. There were two rounds of preliminaries at the bantamweight (54kg) and at the light welterweight (63.5kg) in the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships.

The total number of the boxers was 160 in the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships where the participants could compete in 12 weight classes. The following 26 nations attended in the 1989 European Boxing Championships: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, West Germany and Yugoslavia.

Cyprus never competed any of the previous editions of the European Boxing Championships but their management sent three boxers to Athens in 1989 at the very first time. The Soviet Union was the lone nation which attended with maximum number of 12 boxers in the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships. East Germany sent 11 boxers to the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships, their coaches decided to miss only the flyweight (51kg).

The East German team regained their top position in the medal table in Athens where their boxers claimed four gold, two silver and four bronze medals. Among the 11 participated East German boxers only one of them failed to get any medals, that athlete was Andreas Zülow who claimed gold at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

The Soviet Union also won four gold medals but less silver therefore the boxing power became runner-up in the medal rankings behind East Germany. The Bulgarians also claimed nine medals as the Soviet Union among them three gold and ranked No.3 in Athens. The Dutch team was the lone one which could achieve a title among the Western European countries in 1987 and their Arnold Vanderlyde produced the same effort in 1989.

The Hungarians had three finalists in the Athens 1989 European Boxing Championships but all of them took silver medals. Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Italy, Finland, Scotland, West Germany, and Yugoslavia were also on the medal table in 1989. The Greek team never claimed any medals in the previous editions but Giorgios Tsahakis earned a historical silver for them.

Bulgaria’s Ivailo Marinov claimed gold medals in the 1981 and 1983 editions of the European Boxing Championships and also at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. The Bulgarian light flyweight (48kg) boxer returned to the top of the podium in Athens where he defeated Hungary’s Seoul 1988 Olympic Games bronze medallist Robert Isaszegi. Another Hungarian boxer experienced Janos Varadi also advanced to the final but he was defeated by Soviet Union’s Yuriy Arbachakov at the flyweight (51kg).

Bulgaria’s Aleksandar Hristov won the gold medal at the bantamweight (54kg) in 1987 but he was replaced by a 20-year-old young hope Serafim Todorov who also captured the title of the category in 1989. The young Bulgarian triumphed over Soviet Union’s Moldovan boxer Timofey Skryabin in the final of the weight class. His fellow Kirkor Kirkorov captured Bulgaria’s third gold medal in the Greek capital where he was enough strong to beat East Germany’s Marco Rudolph at the featherweight (57kg).

Soviet Union’s defending champion at the lightweight (60kg) Orzubek Nazarov lost to Konstantin Tszyu in their National Championships therefore the latter was selected to attend in Athens. The 20-year-old rising star proved amazing technique and defeated such big names as East Germany’s Olympic Champion Andreas Zülow, Sweden’s George Cramne and Romania’s Daniel Dumitrescu. Following Tszyu’s gold medal, the Soviet Union took the title of the next light welterweight (63.5kg) which was won by Kazakh-based Igor Ruzhnikov.

East Germany’s technician Siegfried Mehnert claimed the gold medal of the light welterweight (63.5kg) in 1985 and achieved silver at the welterweight (67kg) in Torino in 1987. The 26-year-old East German boxer claimed his second continental title in Athens after beating Bulgaria’s European Champion Borislav Abadzhiev in the final. A veteran Soviet boxer, Armenian-descent Israel Akopkokhyan returned to the national team and won the light middleweight (71kg) following his success over Romania’s Rudel Obreja.

East Germany’s national boxing icon Henry Maske won the gold medals in 1985 and 1987 editions of the European Boxing Championships and at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games. Following those amazing successes, the 25-year-old boxer defended his European title in Athens where he was too strong for Soviet Union’s Kyrgyz hope Andrey Kurnyavka and Czechoslovakia’s Michal Franek. His compatriot Sven Lange won the title of the light heavyweight (81kg) after beating Hungary’s Lajos Eros in the final. The East German boxer died in 1992 at the age of 25 due to a car accident and after that one of the international events was named after him in Schwerin.

Netherlands’ two-time Olympic Games bronze medallist was the titleholder of the heavyweight (91kg) in the European Boxing Championships and arrived to the Greek capital as top favourite. The 26-year-old Dutch boxer defeated Soviet Union’s Evgeniy Sudakov, Poland’s Andrzej Golota and East Germany’s Axel Schulz during his road to the second European title. East Germany’s Ulli Kaden was already 30 by the time of the event but the super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer also defended his throne in Europe following his success over Greece’s lone finalist Giorgios Tsahakis.

List of the winners in the 1989 European Boxing Championships

  • Light flyweight (48kg): Ivailo Marinov, Bulgaria
  • Flyweight (51kg): Yuriy Arbachakov, Soviet Union
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Serafim Todorov, Bulgaria
  • Featherweight (57kg): Kirkor Kirkorov, Bulgaria
  • Lightweight (60kg): Konstantin Tszyu, Soviet Union
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Igor Ruzhnikov, Soviet Union
  • Welterweight (67kg): Siegfried Mehnert, East Germany
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Israel Akopkokhyan, Soviet Union
  • Middleweight (75kg): Henry Maske, East Germany
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Sven Lange, East Germany
  • Heavyweight (91kg): Arnold Vanderlyde, Netherlands
  • Super Heavyweight (+91kg): Ulli Kaden, East Germany  (in featured image)
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