Reyes and Hambli among the winners of Day2 at the busy Strandja Memorial Tournament01 February 2020
The second competition day of the 71st edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament was also saw three preliminary sessions in Sofia, Bulgaria. Spain’s ex-Cuban boxer Emmanuel Reyes won the bout of the day in Sofia where France’s Wahid Hambli stopped his favourite US opponent performing strongly.
The Bulgarian Boxing Federation is always a professional organizer with plenty of organizational experiences since 2012. The total number of 253 boxers representing 34 teams from four different Confederations which means the 71stedition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament is another small World Championships in Sofia.
The following 34 nations are taking part in the event: Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Morocco, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Poland, Refugee Team, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and United States of America.
Bout of the day
One of the top heavyweight (91kg) boxers, Emmanuel Reyes was born in Cuba and he won national title in his homeland but due the many difficult opponents, he switched to Spain in the recent years. Reyes competed in the Big Bout Indian Boxing League and a few other events representing Spain in 2019. His opponent was a strong teenage talent, France’s Wilfried Florentin who claimed gold medal at the 2019 EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships. The French boxer returned to Sofia following his continental title and he was competitive for the ex-Cuban star. Reyes was still fresh enough in the third round to beat his young French rival in the bout of the day.
The surprise of the day
United States’ Freddy Rojas was bronze medallist in the Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Boxing Championships but he was unable to repeat his previous strong performances in Sofia. The US welterweight (69kg) boxer suffered a loss to France’s Wahid Hambli who moved up to this division in 2019. The French boxer led 10:9 in each scorecard after three minutes of fight and the US ringside abandoned the contest in the second following Hambli’s dominancy and tough jabs.
Ireland’s Ceire Smith is 28 and after 10 years of experiences in the international stage, she is aiming for a spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The tall Irish flyweight (51kg) boxer eliminated France’s 19-year-old Johanna Wonyou on Day1 and dominated her second fight against Morocco’s Rabab Cheddar on Day2. In the same weight class Ukraine’s Rio 2016 Olympian Tetiana Kob and Bulgaria’s Gabriela Dimitrova also advanced to the last eight performing strongly in Sofia.
Bulgaria’s best female boxer AIBA Women’s World Champion Stanimira Petrova controlled all of the rounds against Latvia’s Amanda Millere and advanced to the next stage of boxing on home soil. At the same female featherweight (57kg) Poland’s Kinga Szlachcic eliminated Sweden’s Stephanie Thour in a top bout. Further favourites of the weight class such as Ireland’s Michaela Walsh and Poland’s AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships silver medallist Sandra Kruk also advanced to the quarter-finals.
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington achieved gold medal at the New Delhi 2018 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships but she had serious injuries last year. The Irish lightweight (60kg) boxer recovered and she has done strong preparations for the Strandja Memorial Tournament which paid off against Poland’s Aneta Rygielska. In the same weight class Bulgaria’s veteran Denitsa Eliseeva eliminated Denmark’s Ditte Frostholm and remained her chance alive to win a guaranteed medal in Sofia.
Italy’s Alessia Mesiano was also AIBA Women’s World Champion but at the featherweight (57kg) in 2016. The Italian boxer moved up to the lightweight (60kg) and controlled her fight over Kosovo’s EUBC European Youth Champion Donjeta Sadiku. The women’s lightweight (60kg) is one of the strongest categories in the Strandja Memorial Tournament where Finland’s European Games winner Mira Potkonen defeated also Ireland’s Amy Broadhurst on their re-match.
Georgia’s EUBC European U22 Champion Eskerkhan Madiev eliminated Czech Republic’s Patrik Balaz at the welterweight (69kg) on Day1 but he had to box also in the second competition day. He continued his winning path against Bulgaria’s Petar Draganov while Israel’s Miroslav Kapuler and Belarus’ new teenage sensation Aliaksandr Radzionau also won their tough fights on Day2.
Finland’s Muhammad Abdilrasoon eliminated Sweden’s Adam Chartoi in a hectic Nordic battle at the middleweight (75kg) while Bulgaria’s returning boxer Simeon Chamov won two rounds against Poland’s Ryszard Lewicki and saved fuel for the later part of the Strandja Memorial Tournament. Ukraine’s AIBA World Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak was too strong for United States’ Joe Hicks while France’s Day1 surprise Moreno Fendero continued his winning series against Belarus’ Vitali Bandarenka in the tough middleweight (75kg).