Rahimov, Yusifzada and Shakhsuvarly won their key contests in the final day of the Great Silk Way Tournament02 April 2019
The new edition of the Great Silk Way Tournament finished with its 10 finals in Azerbaijan’s capital city in Baku which competition was a strong preparation for all boxers for the European Games and other main goals in 2019. Azerbaijan’s Rauf Rahimov impressed in the day of the finals when Yusifzada and Shakhsuvarly were also among the winners.
Azerbaijan Boxing Federation hosted the first edition of the Great Silk Way Tournament in 2007 and after two years of break the competition returned to the European boxing map. Altogether 117 boxers attended in the new edition of the Great Silk Way Tournament with the participation of such powerful countries as host Azerbaijan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkey, Morocco and Turkmenistan.
Bout of the day
Azerbaijan’s Rauf Rahimov won the gold medal at the Dublin 2011 EUBC European Confederation Youth Boxing Championships at the age of 17 and he needed a few years to reach the top level of the elite boxers. Rahimov eliminated strong rivals during his road to the final of the light heavyweight (81kg) but he was still motivated to win the title as well. Azerbaijan’s Lorenzo Sotomayor was silver medallist in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the host nation’s second Cuban-descent Alfonso Dominges was the opponent for the title for Rahimov. The contest was an important selection bout also for the European Games therefore both boxers have done their very best. Rahimov had strong advantage before the final round in each scorecard and he was able to manage his key success in Baku.
Surprise of the day
Azerbaijan’s Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympian Masud Yusifzada eliminated his main national rival Doha 2015 AIBA World Champion Elvin Mamishzada in the semi-final of the flyweight (52kg) which was a big surprise in the fifth competition day. Yusifzada was tired after that strong semi-final bout but he was trying to do his very best for the title against Kazakhstan’s WSB hero Olzhas Bayniyazov. The 22-year-old Kazakh boxer won the Bocskai Memorial Tournament on February and he is WSB Team Champion but Yusifzada’s stamina was incredible and the Azeri hope defeated him by split decision.
The first gold medal of the Great Silk Way Tournament was achieved by Shalkar Aikynbay of Kazakhstan who became AIBA Youth World Champion in 2014 and he is trying to reach the top elite squad of his country. The currently 23-year-old Kazakh boxer used quicker attacks than Uzbekistan’s WSB hope Nodirjon Mirzakhmedov and won their light flyweight (49kg) final by unanimous decision.
Azerbaijan’s Tayfur Aliyev was bronze medallist in the Baku 2015 European Games as a teenager and now he is a well-experienced boxer at the bantamweight (56kg). He claimed silver medal in the 2018 EUBC European Confederation U22 Boxing Championships and used strong strategy in the final against an even younger hope Kazakhstan’s National Championships silver medallist Orazbek Asylkulov. Their final bout was not so close as Yusifzada’s title contest therefore Azerbaijan won its second gold medal in Baku.
Uzbekistan’s Shukurjon Rakhimov eliminated Azerbaijan’s Almaty 2013 AIBA World Champion Javid Chalabiyev in the semi-final of the lightweight (60kg) in a superb contest but as Yusifzada he was also too tired in his final fight. The 22-year-old Uzbek was not able to repeat his previous performance and lost to Morocco’s Rio 2016 Olympian Mohamed Hamout for the title of the category in Baku.
Russia’s current FISU University World Champion Alisa Sharifov impressed in the whole event and dominated the light welterweight (64kg) in Baku. The Russian boxer eliminated Kazakhstan’s veteran Almasbek Alibekov in the semi-final of the Great Silk Way Tournament and he used his patient style also in the final. Sharifov had to meet with another Kazakh fighter Sabyrzhan Bekbergenov for the title and he was able beat another Central Asian boxer in Azerbaijan’s capital.
Azerbaijan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games bronze medallist Kamran Shakhsuvarly is a key European boxer at the middleweight (75kg) and he performed strongly in the Great Silk Way Tournament as well. The Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist boxer eliminated Turkey’s attacking Serhat Guler in the semi-final and he was enough shape to beat his seven-year younger teammate Amin Kushkov in the final of the Great Silk Way Tournament.