Rybakov and Konakbayev defended their thrones at the Tampere 1981 European Boxing Championships

17 July 2020 News

The 24th edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Finland’s boxing capital in Tampere in 1981. The Soviet Union achieved eight gold medals in that event and among them Viktor Rybakov and Serik Konakbayev defended their European thrones. Altogether 12 champions and 48 medallists have been crowned in Tampere, the competition schedule was the same as in Cologne in 1979.

The first competition day of the 1981 European Boxing Championships was May 2 in Tampere while the finals were held on May 10. The local organizers arranged a rest day on May 9 after the exciting semi-finals. Two rounds of preliminaries were held at the lightweight (60kg), at the welterweight (67kg) and at the middleweight (75kg) in the 1981 European Boxing Championships.

The number of the boxers was 171 in the 1981 European Boxing Championships in Tampere which was higher than two years earlier. The following 22 nations attended in the Tampere 1981 European Boxing Championships: Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, East Germany, England, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Soviet Union, Spain, Sweden, West Germany and Yugoslavia.

Only five Eastern bloc countries as Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union attended with maximum number of 12 boxers in the Tampere 1981 European Boxing Championships. England returned to the event after 1977 but their boxers were unable to win any medals in Tampere.The host Finnish team bagged two bronze medals on home soil in Tampere while their defending champion Tarmo Uusivirta failed to reach the semi-finals.

The Soviet Union earned seven gold medals in 1979 which their squad increased by one in the Tampere 1981 European Boxing Championships. Next to the Soviet Union’s eight titles in Tampere, Bulgaria, East Germany and Italy were the further nations which captured gold medals in the event.

Fifteen nations claimed at least one bronze medal in Tampere including Yugoslavia, Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Finland, West Germany, Czechoslovakia, France, Ireland and Sweden. Romania earned altogether 11 medals in 1979 and in 1981 but none of them were gold in these events.

Soviet Union’s Shamil Sabirov claimed gold medal at the 1979 European Boxing Championships and at the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games but he lost his semi-final to Bulgaria’s 21-year-old Ismail Mustafov in 1981. The Bulgarian boxer was too smart also for East Germany’s double European silver medallists Dietmar Geilich and claimed the first title in Tampere. The second gold was also achieved by a Bulgarian boxer, Olympic Champion Petar Lesov who works as a coach with the national team currently. The 21-year-old Bulgarian controlled his final over Romania’s Constantin Titoiu in the final of the flyweight (51kg).

Soviet Union’s Viktor Miroshnichenko won silver medal in the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games which the Ukrainian boxer changed into gold in 1981 following his success over Yugoslavia’s Sami Buzoli. Soviet Union’s Kazakh boxer Serik Nurkazov was the main favourite for the gold at the featherweight (57kg) but he lost to East Germany’s Richard Nowakowski in the semi-finals. The 26-year-old East German boxer defeated also Poland’s lone finalist Krzysztof Kosedowski in the final of the event.  

Soviet Union’s Magadan-based Viktor Rybakov, who claimed bronze medal in 1977 and gold in 1979, impressed one again in the European Boxing Championships in Tampere where he defended his throne after beating Italy’s Carlo Russollilo in the final of the lightweight (60kg). His teammate Vasiliy Shishov claimed the third title for the Soviet Union in Tampere at the light welterweight (63.5kg).

Serik Konakbayev defeated Italy’s Patrizio Oliva in the 1979 European Boxing Championships and lost to him in the final of the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games. The 22-year-old Kazakh star moved up to the welterweight (67kg) in 1981 and dominated all of his four fights including the title bout against East Germany’s Karl-Heinz Krüger. The Soviet Union’s next title was claimed by Aleksandr Koshkin at the light middleweight (71kg) following his success over Yugoslavia’s titleholder Miodrag Perunovic.

Finland’s defending champion Tarmo Uusivirta lost his quarter-final to Romania’s Valentin Silaghi but the latter boxer also failed to reach the finals in Tampere. The final of the middleweight (75kg) was held between Yuriy Torbek and Netherlands’ Pedro Van Raamsdonk which bout was won by the Soviet boxer. The Soviet Union’s seventh title was taken by Aleksandr Krupin following his success over Romania’s Giorgica Donici at the light heavyweight (81kg).

Soviet Union’s Yevgeniy Gorstkov won two European titles in 1977 while his replacement AIBA World Cup silver medallist 20-year-old Aleksandr Yagubkin continued his nation’s dominancy at the heavyweight (91kg) in Tampere. The Ukrainian-descent Yagubkin defeated East Germany’s three-time Olympian Jürgen Fanghänel in the final of the event. Moscow 1980 Olympic Games quarter-finalist Francesco Darmiani of Italy defeated Soviet Union’s Vyacheslav Yakovlev and got the title of the super heavyweight (+91kg).

List of the winners in the 1981 European Boxing Championships

  • Light flyweight (48kg): Ismail Mustafov, Bulgaria
  • Flyweight (51kg): Petar Lesov, Bulgaria  
  • Bantamweight (54kg): Viktor Miroshnichenko, Soviet Union
  • Featherweight (57kg): Richard Nowakowski, East Germany
  • Lightweight (60kg): Viktor Rybakov, Soviet Union
  • Light welterweight (63.5kg): Vasiliy Shishov, Soviet Union
  • Welterweight (67kg): Serik Konakbayev, Soviet Union
  • Light middleweight (71kg): Aleksandr Koshkin, Soviet Union
  • Middleweight (75kg): Yuriy Torbek, Soviet Union
  • Light heavyweight (81kg): Aleksandr Krupin, Soviet Union    
  • Heavyweight (91kg): Aleksandr Yagubkin, Soviet Union
  • Super Heavyweight (+91kg): Francesco Damiani, Italy  

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