The Croft brothers shined in the semi-finals of the 50th Golden Gong Tournament16 November 2021
The semi-finals were held in the second competition day of the 50th Golden Gong Tournament in Skopje, North Macedonia on Friday. England’s Aaron Bowen won the tightest bout of the semi-finals while the 20-year-old talented Croft brothers delivered two final places for Wales in Skopje.
The Technical Delegate of the 50th Golden Gong Tournament is Mr. Dragoljub Radovic of Montenegro as in the previous editions. 47 elite male boxers are attending in the new edition of the Golden Gong Tournament in Skopje where the athletes at the light middleweight (71kg) were divided into two groups.
The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, wearing masks and all of the health controls are the responsibility of the local organizers in Skopje avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the new edition of the Golden Gong Tournament.
The bout of the day
England have to build up a new national team following most of their previous stars turned to professional or received rest period after the big championships. One of their new hopes is Aaron Bowen at the light heavyweight (80kg) who has the target to attend at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. The English talent met in the semi-finals of the Golden Gong Tournament with Ukraine’s Dmytro Rybalko who has got seven years of international experiences. Despite of Bowen’s low number of bouts, he had the excellent fighting spirit and stamina to beat one of the stars of the Golden Gong Tournament. Bowen will be boxing for the title of the international event with Montenegro’s young Emir Sabotic.
The surprise of the day
Ireland’s Jake Rapple is the new Irish National Champion at the bantamweight (54kg) and he has got strong expectations in the future. The 19-year-old Irish talent was registered to attend at the AIBA World Boxing Championships but finally he could not make it. Rapple arrived to the Golden Gong Tournament with great expectations but he suffered an unexpected loss to Kosovo’s Bashkim Bajoku who competed already at the Strandja Memorial Tournament but delivered his best ever in their contest.
Ukraine’s Rostyslav Bilostotskyi competed in the EUBC U22 European Boxing Championships already in 2017 and he is an experienced international level boxer. The 24-year-old Ukrainian moved up to the bantamweight (54kg) and enjoyed his return to the tournaments in Skopje. Bilostotskyi controlled the first round against North Macedonia’s Adrian Xhemaili and he had the advantage in each scorecard. He proved stronger performance in the second round and the Kosovan referee stopped the semi-final and the Ukrainian won the contest by RSC.
The Welsh boxers have been preparing to the 2022 Commonwealth Games and the Golden Gong Tournament is one of their stoppages in that road. Ioan Croft moved up to the light middleweight (71kg) but the 20-year-old talent adopted the strength of the punches and controlled his semi-final against Kosovo’s Jozef Rrasi. His twin brother, Garan Croft also joined to the finals of the Golden Gong Tournament following his success over Montenegro’s Lav Lopicic at the middleweight (75kg).