Russia Dominate World Junior Championships – Kiev from AIBA point of view17 September 2013
The first AIBA international event of the year, the AIBA Junior World Championships has finished in Kiev where Cuba and Russia claimed three gold medals while the hosts (Ukraine) and Kazakhstan both saw two athletes on the top of the podium. Australia, Ireland and the United States of America also had good tournaments
Overall, Russia was clearly the dominant force of the tournament, with the juniors repeating the success of the senior team at the European Championships earlier this year. The Russian team took a total of ten medals overall from an available 52, with three golds, five silvers and two bronzes being taken home by the squad.
Nonetheless in the opening finals, it was second placed Cuba that bagged the gold with Junior National Games winner Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez defeating Russia’s Svyatoslav Varankin at the Pinweight (46 kg).
The Cuban team only entered six boxers, yet three of them are going home with gold, which is an astonishing return. The second Cuba vs. Russia final (at Bantamweight – 54 kg) was one of the most highly anticipated bouts in the event with a clash between two future champions who are clearly in the making. Two-time Cuban Junior National Games winner Alayn Limonta Boudet managed to edge a split decision over European Junior Champion Suleiman Bammatov in a close contest to hand Cuba the victory.
Cuba’s third gold medal (in a row) was acquired by Maikel Yoan Franco Barrero (50 kg). The 16-year-old Cuban boxer was spectacular against Armenia’s national team captain European Junior Championships bronze medallist Hrayr Shahverdyan. The Cuban boxer has had only one loss this year and now has a good chance of being involved in the upcoming 2014 AIBA Youth World Championships.
Russia weren’t done however. Their best junior boxer, Ilya Kulikov, was the favourite in the light welterweight (63 kg) category. As the most experienced fighter in the AIBA Junior World Championships he didn’t disappoint on his way to gold. His teammate European Schoolboys Champion Ivan Kozlovskiy also earned the gold medal in Kiev after beating Moldova’s European Junior Championships silver medallist Vladislav Tugui in the final of the Lightweight (60 kg) category.
Russia’s third gold medal was taken by their Heavyweight (+80 kg) fighter Asia Games silver medallist Rustam Ibraykhaliyev who comes from the city of Noyabrsk. The 16-year-old fighter began boxing in 2006 and moved up to this weight division just before the championships. His experience was enough to see off Belarus’ Maksim Kazlou for the gold in spite of a height disadvantage.
Russia’s No.1 Middleweight (75 kg) Vitaliy Bakhmatov has been unbeaten this year, winning all 18 of his bouts, but his dominance came to an end at the hands of Australia’s tough Oceania Junior Champion Satali Tevi Fuimaono. The multiple times National Champion Aussie fighter is of Samoan descent and has repeated the same feat as his compatriot Jai Tapu Opetaia who was also AIBA Junior World Champion two years ago. Opetaia went on to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games, which suggests that Fuimaono could also be one for the country to keep an eye on for future stardom.
The host nation Ukraine had several athletes that neutral observers had tipped as medal contenders prior to the event. Three of them were able to live up to expectations. Ramil Gadzhyyev stopped Kazakhstan’s Kadyrbek Sadykbek at Light Middleweight (70 kg) while his teammate Robert Marton triumphed over Russia’s Junior National Champion Vladislav Redko to give both Ukrainians gold. The host nation’s third finalist Ruslan Zubachuk was defeated by US Junior National Champion Shakur Stevenson who started boxing at the age of just 5. The results saw Ukraine reach 4th place in the medals table (or an unofficial 3rd if you are simply counting the total medal tally rather than medal type, with a total of 5)
Kazakhstan was another country that had a great year. Having claimed only one gold medal in the last edition of the AIBA Junior World Championships on home soil in Astana, they performed better in Kiev. Eight of their young athletes took medals and two of them reached the top of the podium in the competition, leaving them 3rd in the medals table. Asian Junior Champion 16-year-old Abylaykhan Zhussupov defeated Russia’s Gusein Magomedov at Featherweight (57 kg), while their continental champion Rakhat Marzhikpayev did not give Azerbaijan’s Rovshan Musayev any chance to impose himself at all in the Welterweight (66 kg) division which is a traditionally Kazakhstan’s most successful category.
Ireland’s only finalist was two-time Junior National Champion William Donoghue who faced US Junior Trials winner, 15-year-old Daniel Gonzalez. Both were unbeaten this year prior their contest. Their light flyweight (48 kg) contest was a wonderful affair with an extremely high quality of boxing being shown by both athletes. An Irish victory ensued following a split decision. Donoghue’s win was the first time we have seen an Irish gold medallist this level since Joseph Ward in 2009, who has of course since gone on to achieve great things.
All in all it was an exceptional tournament and it bodes well for the forthcoming Women’s Youth and Junior World Championships in Albena, Bulgaria later this month.
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