Mesiano and Alberti are the women stars of the Zagreb Grand Prix while Croatia’s Luka Plantic returned with a gold medal13 November 2019
The first edition of the Zagreb Grand Prix was held by the Croatian Boxing Federation which was a new competition in the European boxing map. Russia’s Ilia Shakirov, Italy’s female duo Valentina Alberti and Alessia Mesiano were the foreign stars of the Zagreb Grand Prix. The host nation’s top boxers as Toni Filipi and Luka Pratljacic claimed the titles while their Luka Plantic returned to the world of boxing with a gold medal.
Croatia hosted the Zlatko Hrbic Memorial Tournament in Zagreb and the Arena Cup in Pula in the past and following these events, their management launched a new money prize competition. The following nations attended in the Zagreb Grand Prix: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Russia, Sri Lanka, and Ukraine.
All of the expenses related to accommodation, meals and local transportation were the responsibility of the Local Croatian Organizing Committee. Furthermore, the local organizers guaranteed money prizes for all of the individual medallists of the Zagreb Grand Prix which will be making the event onto a unique one.
Bout of the finals
Russia’s Ilia Shakirov became gold medallist in the EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships in Sofia this September and the 18-year-old boxer received the right at the very first time to attend in an elite competition. The Russian teenager adopted the level of the elite boxers quickly and advanced to the final of the Zagreb Grand Prix. Shakirov used his great footwork in the final against Jordan’s experienced Ahmad Al-Matbouli and won his first ever elite competition during his career.
Surprise of the finals
Jordan’s Bader Osman Samreen earned bronze medal in the Budapest 2018 AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships but he did not attend in any elite international tournaments yet. The Jordan light welterweight (63kg) boxer is only 19 but he impressed in the whole Zagreb Grand Prix. Samreen’s final opponent was Ukraine’s Yanis Kurylenko who has been attending in the elite competitions since 2014 but he was unable to stop the rhythm of the Jordanian teenager.
Italy’s Alessia Mesiano was AIBA Women’s World Champion in 2016 and following a few unexpected losses, she moved up to the lightweight (60kg). The Italian boxer dominated his final against Germany’s Cansu Cak winning all of the three rounds in their key contest. The second Italian female gold medal was taken by Baku 2015 European Games silver medallist Valentina Alberti who overwhelmed Germany’s Diane Ozcelik in the final of the light welterweight (64kg).
Croatia’s Luka Plantic amazed all experts as a youth boxer in the year of 2014 when he claimed medals in the big events and won gold at the EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships. The 23-year-old Croatian returned to the boxing events and enjoyed his comeback and the whole event in Zagreb. Plantic was too smart for Ukraine’s Maksim Kots and made a successful return claiming the gold of the light heavyweight (81kg).
Croatia’s Toni Filipi was bronze medallist in the Minsk 2019 European Games and silver medallist in the 2017 EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships. The 23-year-old Croatian heavyweight (91kg) boxer eliminated his main rival Jordan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Hussein Iashaish in the semi-finals and continued his winning path against Ukraine’s Dmytro Galagan in the title bout.
Croatia’s Luka Pratljacic was bronze medallist in the 2019 EUBC European U22 Boxing Championships in Vladikavkaz which was his career highlight. The 22-year-old Croatian moved up to the super heavyweight (+91kg) in the recent one year which decision paid off also in the Zagreb Grand Prix. Pratljacic controlled the first round of the final against Jordan’s Sami Kayser Nour while the referee confirmed his RSC victory in the second.