The Irish girls produced perfect competition day at the Strandja Memorial Tournament22 January 2020
The 71st edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament is one of the most traditional European competitions which is holding this time in January due the Olympic Qualification Events. The first competition day saw three busy preliminary sessions when the Irish girls impressed with their victories and fighting spirits.
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 71st edition 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
Ireland’s two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist Michaela Walsh reached strong results last year in spite of her previous injuries. The Irish featherweight (57kg) boxer had to meet with a top rival US National Olympic Trials winner Guadelupe Gutierrez who claimed gold at the 2015 AIBA Women’s Junior World Boxing Championships. Walsh started the bout with high intensity of boxing and her shots reached the target in the first round. Gutierrez responded quickly in the second but Walsh had the advantage of the elite experiences to win their tough fight in Sofia.
The surprise of the day
Italy’s Salvatore Cavallaro claimed silver medal in the Minsk 2019 European Games and he was in the Top8 at the AIBA World Boxing Championships as well. The Italian middleweight (75kg) boxer is famous of his tough punches but this time he had to meet with a younger talent who has got the same fighting style. France’s Moreno Fendero was National Champion in his homeland but the 20-year-old boxer was not the favourite against the Italian. Fendero was better in that fighting style and eliminated the experienced Italian who has been attending in the international events since 2011.
Ireland’s Ceire Smith lost her preliminary battles closely in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and in the EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships but on both events she had to meet with stars. The tall Irish flyweight (51kg) boxer kept the best fighting distance against France’s 19-year-old Johanna Wonyou and dominated her first fight. Her EUBC European Women’s Champion teammate Aoife O’Rourke had the strong stamina to eliminate Sweden’s No.1 Love Holgersson at the female middleweight (75kg).
Bulgaria’s EUBC European Women’s Champion 20-year-old Melis Yonuzova returned to the welterweight (69kg) and started her campaign with impressive attacks against Belgium’s Oshin Derieuw. The host nation’s best male boxer two-times EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov dominated his first fight against Poland’s Jakub Slominski and advanced to the next stage of the flyweight (52kg) where his main rival for the title Spain’s Gabriel Escobar also impressed.
The Refugee Team’s Wessam Salamana was bronze medallist in the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Games as member of the Syrian national squad. The veteran refugee boxer is aiming for a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and arrived to Sofia to increase his international experiences. The lightweight (63kg) boxer used his long hands to keep the best fighting range against Poland’s Dominik Palak and his efforts were enough to win the difficult contest in the Bulgarian capital.
Georgia’s EUBC European U22 Champion Lasha Guruli moved back to his original division to the lightweight (63kg) and used his counter-attacks to land jabs against Romania’s James Damian Chereji who returned to the world of boxing. Guruli won all of the rounds in each scorecard and advanced to the next stage of the Strandja Memorial Tournament. The second Georgian success was achieved by another EUBC European U22 Champion Eskerkhan Madiev who eliminated Czech Republic’s Patrik Balaz at the welterweight (69kg).
Belarus’ Aliaksandr Radzionau was bronze medallist in the 2018 EUBC European Youth Boxing Championships and moved up to categories to the welterweight (69kg) last year. The 19-year-old Belarusian had to meet with his teammate as first Yauheni Dauhaliavets who is a veteran boxer and a well-known face in the international stages. The bout was a selection fight between them for a place in the European Olympic Qualification Event and the younger Radzionau landed more punches to win their important battle.
Moldova’s former EUBC European Boxing Championships silver medallist Dmitri Galagot moved up to the welterweight (69kg) where their previous Olympian Vasile Belous finished his boxing career. The experienced Moldovan had an exciting first fight against Denmark’s 18-year-old Jacob Bank who had longer hands than Galagot. The Danish teenager was a competitive rival but Galagot worked enough to win his first fight in Sofia.