Radovanovic, Veocic and Cvetkovic were the stars of the 3rd Zagreb Grand Prix09 December 2021
Following this busy year, the third and new edition of the Zagreb Grand Prix was one of the last international competitions in 2021. The event was held for the elite female and male boxers in the Croatian capital in the recent days. Serbia’s Nina Radovanovic and Croatia’s duo as Gabrijel Veocic and Leo Cvetkovic were the stars of the event.
The selected women’s weight categories were the light bantamweight (52kg) and light welterweight (63kg) while the men’s boxers could compete at the light middleweight (71kg), middleweight (75kg), light heavyweight (80kg) and cruiserweight (86kg) in Zagreb. The gold medals of the Grand Prix have been shared between Croatia and Serbia.
The gold, the silver and bronze medallists were awarded also cash prizes in euros after the third competition day. The winners of each weight class earned 1000 EUR, the Croatian LOC gave 500 for the runner-ups and 250 each of the bronze medallist boxers.
The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, wearing masks and all of the health controls were the responsibility of the local organizers in Croatia avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the new edition of the Zagreb Grand Prix.
The bout of the day
Serbia’s Nina Radovanovic was quarter-finalist in the 2019 EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships in Spain where she proved her energetic attacks and pressurizing tactic. The Serbian girl qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games where she proved her very best once again and arrived to the Zagreb Grand Prix as one of the stars. She met with another Olympian boxer, Croatia’s Nikolina Cacic who reached amazing results also as a youth talent. They are the best female boxers of the whole former Yugoslavian region and their final delivered the narrowest battle of the whole Grand Prix. The 20-year-old Croatian moved down to the 52kg weight class and tried to use her longer hands in their outstanding final bout. Cacic gave in everything but Radovanovic was slightly better in the exchanges in the day of the final and the Serbian earned the gold medal.
The surprise of the day
Croatia’s Leo Cvetkovic caused one of the main sensations in the Grand Prix when he eliminated his teammate, Olympian Luka Plantic in the first day of boxing. The Croatian light heavyweight (80kg) boxer marched to the final of the event where he had another tough opponent, Montenegro’s Petar Marcic who won preliminary contests at the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships in Belgrade. Cvetkovic gained the control of their final in the first round and the younger Croatian defeated Marcic by unanimous decision.
Croatia’s Sara Beram competed in plenty of international tournaments and championships in the recent eight years and she worked hard during the Covid-19 period to reach the level of the top boxers. The 26-year-old Croatian increased her physical skills impressively and opened the first round of the light welterweight (63kg) final against Poland’s Wioletta Teichmann with tough punches. Beram controlled all of the three rounds in their final and earned the gold medal of the Grand Prix winning the bout by large margin of differences.
Filip Kolar is only 21 but he attended at the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships in Belgrade which was an excellent experience for the young Croatian. The light middleweight (71kg) boxer could not expect an easy final against Slovenia’s Edin Sejdinovic who returned to the world of boxing after a break. Kolar felt the tempo and landed his shots with perfect timing which was enough to beat his 25-year-old Slovenian opponent in the final.
Croatia’s new No.1 Gabrijel Veocic was their best boxer at the AIBA Men’s Elite World Boxing Championships in Belgrade despite of his age of 20. The middleweight (75kg) boxer advanced to the final of the Grand Prix where he faced with Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Leo Cvitanovic who trains mostly in Germany. Veocic used his longer reach and excellent technical skills to keep the control of their final from the first seconds until the last gong.
EUBC European Boxing Championships bronze medallist Damir Plantic produced an amazing year in 2017 and after a short break he returned to the international competitions this year. The experienced Croatian met in the final of the new cruiserweight (86kg) with his teammate, Matej Uremovic which was another tight contest after the Kolar vs. Sejdinovic fight. Damir Plantic knew many things about boxing and he felt the best timing to land his shots therefore he won the strong weight class in Zagreb.