Netherlands’ Enrico La Cruz and Finland’s Aydin Behruz were the sensations at the Gee Bee Tournament on Day108 March 2019
The first competition day of the 38th edition of the Gee Bee Tournament was held with men’s preliminary contests in the traditional venue in Helsinki. The winners of today’s 16 contests are advanced to the quarter-finals of the Gee Bee Tournament. Netherlands’ Rio 2016 Olympian Enrico La Cruz had a sensational wins over a super talented Russian on Day1 before Finland’s newcomer Aydin Behruz shocked his US opponent.
The Gee Bee Tournament will be stronger than in the previous years following many of the top nations including Russia, France, England, United States of America, Canada, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Australia, Poland, Netherlands, Sweden, host Finland, Lithuania and India are also attending in Helsinki. Altogether 97 boxers from 15 strong nations are fighting for the available 12 gold medals in Finland’s capital city.
Bout of the day
A tough European battle was held at the light welterweight (64kg) where Netherlands’ EUBC European Confederation Boxing Championships bronze medallist Enrico La Cruz had to face with Russia’s two-time EUBC European Youth Champion Nikita Piskunov in Helsinki. The Dutch boxer and his opponent both were moved up to his category only in the recent months but their bout was world class. La Cruz impressed in the second part of their contest and following his lethal punch the referee had to count Piskunov in the final round. The final verdict was unanimous decision to Rio 2016 Olympian La Cruz who eliminated a top athlete in Helsinki.
Surprise of the day
Finland’s Aydin Behruz is not a well-known boxer at the welterweight (69kg) but exceeded all of the previous expectations in the first day of the Gee Bee Tournament. The Finnish boxer attended only in smaller international events in the recent years but he was brave against his US opponent, National Championships silver medallist Marques Valle. Behruz moved ahead more from the second round and he surprised his US opponent in the preliminary round. Finland’s 27-year-old boxer won his career highlight with this success and advanced to the quarter-finals in the front of the home crowd.
Russia’s 18-year-old Ilia Popov was gold medallist in the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games and joined to the elite age group in January. Popov’s first elite event is the Gee Bee Tournament and tried to maintain the best fighting distance against Canada’s Thomas Blumenfeld who claimed silver at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games. The Russian teenager felt the tempo better in the second round and used his strong technique to keep the safest distance. In the battle of the southpaw boxers Blumenfeld gave in everything in the final round but Popov’s advantage was enough to win their powerful light welterweight (64kg) bout and advanced to the quarter-finals.
England’s EUBC European U22 Champion Luke McCormack won also the European Union Boxing Championships last November and the Gee Bee Tournament is his first test event in 2019. The 24-year-old English light welterweight (64kg) boxer dictated the tempo against India’s Ankit Khatana and his footwork was better than his opponent today. McCormack landed tough straight punches and his strong performance delivered for him a place in the last eight of the Gee Bee Tournament.
Luke’s twin brother Commonwealth Games winner and EUBC European Union Champion Pat McCormack is one of the best welterweight (69kg) boxers in the whole globe. The English star won all of his contests in the recent one year and he looked confident against such strong opponent as United States’ Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Freudis Rojas. McCormack moved ahead without any stoppage and he knocked down his US rival in the first part of their bout. McCormack used his unstoppable attacks and dominated their contest proving his top shape in Helsinki as well.
England’s Mark Dickinson was gold medallist at the Antalya 2017 EUBC European Confederation Youth Boxing Championships and he reached quickly the top level of the middleweight (75kg) boxers. England’s new sensation was active against Netherlands’ experienced Max Van der Pas who landed also powerful hooks in their contest. Dickinson was slightly better than his Dutch rival today but Van der Pas also proved his top skills in the first preliminary round of the Gee Bee Tournament.