The Romanian youth boxers amazed in the finals of the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament26 September 2022
The nineteen finals took place in the fourth and last competition day at the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina. Hungary’s Attila Bernath defended his throne in the event where Romania’s youth boxers, Spain’s Rafael Lozano Serrano, Ireland’s Sean Mari and Poland’s Filip Wachala all performed strongly.
The international event was a preparation competition for the upcoming IBA Youth World Boxing Championships which will be held in La Nucia-Benidorm on November 13-27. The tournament was also preparation for the EUBC European Women’s Boxing Championships and ASBC Asian Elite Boxing Championships. The Technical Delegate of the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament was Mr. Adam Kusior of Poland.
Division General Mustafa Hajrulahovic Talijan was Bosnia & Herzegovina’s commander and hero in the end of the last century and a new boxing tournament was named after him which shows his excellent popularity in Sarajevo. The tournament was held at the Hotel Hills Sarajevo Congress & Termal Spa Resort for the first time.
The bout of the day
Hungary’s former EUBC European Youth Champion Attila Bernath was the defending champion at the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament too. He moved up one category this time and eliminated his teammate Gabor Virban in the semi-finals of the bantamweight (54kg). Bernath’s last opponent was Jordan’s newcomer in the national team, Jebril Mahdi Mohammad and he needed to do his very best in the final contest. The 22-year-old Hungarian managed this tough tactical challenge and earned his second gold medal in the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament within one year.
The surprise of the day
North Macedonia’s best talent, Petar Arsovski earned a fantastic bronze medal at the Sofia 2022 EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships. The 17-year-old boxer was a finalist at the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament in Sarajevo as in many other international competitions but this time he earned only a silver medal. Arsovski was not able to find the best fighting distance against Romania’s Sally Palapiuc and his opponent took the lead on the scorecards after three minutes of fight. The Romanian bantamweight (54kg) boxer followed his game plan effectively and he was able to beat the favourite of the category.
The Spanish team has been preparing to the upcoming IBA Youth World Boxing Championships with full speed following the country will be the host of the competition for the very first time. Their EUBC European Youth Champion Rafael Lozano Serrano faced his teammate, Asier Jimenez in the final of the flyweight (51kg). The 18-year-old Spaniard is a fantastic talent, one of the top youth hopes in the entire world and he had the speed and technical advantage to beat Jimenez in Sarajevo. Rafael Lozano Serrano will be deciding his weight class in the upcoming weeks in which to participate in La Nucia this November. His teammate, Enrique Kakulov earned another gold medal for Spain, he defeated Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Ali Sljivo at the light welterweight (63.5kg).
Following Palapiuc’s unexpected success at the youth bantamweight (54kg), three further Romanians earned gold medals in this age group. Florin Ionita defeated Spain’s Daniel Rodriguez in the final of the lightweight (60kg) while Alex Buleu also won over a Spaniard, the EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships bronze medallist Ganda Coulibaly Soucko at the welterweight (67kg). A Romanian EUBC medallist, Dorulet Tiu proved his best performance once again, his tough combinations delivered a quick RSC victory for him over Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Eldar Hodzic.
Ireland sent a young team to the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament, their flyweight (51kg) No.1, Sean Mari earned their first gold medal. He participated at the 2021 AIBA World Boxing Championships and at the 2022 EUBC European Men’s Elite Boxing Championships which increased his international experiences. The 22-year-old Irish had a close semi-final against Jordan’s Huthaifa Mohammad Yousef and he had another tough but successful challenge against Hungary’s Martin Virban in the final. His teammate, Dean Patrick Clancy bagged the second Irish title following his success over Romania’s Samuel Roman.
Poland’s Filip Wachala eliminated Hungary’s Milan Fodor in the semi-finals of the elite welterweight (67kg) and he had a fantastic performance for the title bout as well. The 24-year-old Polish had strong experiences from the European Games and the World Boxing Championships which paid off in Sarajevo. Wachala found the best fighting distance against Slovenia’s promising 21-year-old Nejc Petric in the first round and he continued that strong performance until the last gong to win this final contest.
Bosnia & Herzegovina’s Leo Cvitanovic and Gianni Dedic both began their boxing careers in Germany but returned to their roots in the recent one year. The two talented middleweight (75kg) boxers joined the finals of the Mustafa Hajrulahovic Memorial Tournament and this time Cvitanovic was able to capture the gold medal. Following Germany’s Alexander Okafor’s gold at the heavyweight (92kg), the second Bosnian finalist, Josip Coric claimed a silver medal on home soil. The 20-year-old EUBC Youth European Boxing Championships bronze medallist Coric lost to Lithuania’s Jonas Jazevicius in the final of the super heavyweight (+92kg).