Two knockouts among the eleven finals of the Balkan Boxing Championships11 May 2021
The Balkan Boxing Championships finished with its fourth competition day with eleven final contests in Zagreb, Croatia. The host nation’s young prides as Noa Jezek and Nikolina Cacic lost their finals but Marija Malenica won the bout of the finals. Among the eleven title bouts, two finished with KOs following Denis Nurja and Marko Milun were too strong for their rivals.
Antalya hosted the Balkan Boxing Championships last time in December 2019 and after a short break the competition continued in Zagreb, Croatia for the region’s best boxers. The new edition of the Balkan Boxing Championships was held in 16 different weight categories in the Croatian capital.
Serbia topped the medal standings with four gold medals ahead of host Croatia, Romania, Albania, Kosovo and Bosnia & Herzegovina. These nations claimed the titles of the Balkan Boxing Championships but Slovenia, Greece, North Macedonia and Montenegro also achieved at least one medal in Zagreb.
The safety of all participants, the continuous medical checks, the social distancing, the hygienic preparations, wearing masks and all of the health controls were the responsibility of the local organizers in Croatia to avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the Balkan Boxing Championships. The Technical Delegate of the new Balkan Boxing Championships was Mr. Henrik Tavio of Finland.
The bout of the day
Croatia’s Marija Malenica competed already in the 2008 Women’s National Championships but she missed many years in the international stage. She returned as a strong fighter and won several contests against top opponents in the recent three years. Malenica had a powerful rival, Serbia’s ex-Russian boxer, Natalia Shadrina in the final of the women’s lightweight (60kg). The Croatian exceeded all of the previous expectations and defeated Shadrina in the best contest of the last competition day.
The surprise of the day
Croatia’s Noa Jezek is one of the top talents of the country who began the year with a silver medal at the strong Bocskai Memorial Tournament. The 20-year-old Croatian advanced to the final of the middleweight (75kg) and he used the same tactical repertoires as in the semi-final. His opponent, Albania’s Alban Beqiri surprised him in the first round therefore Jezek increased his rhythm but he received strong response and heavy blows. The Albanian caused the main sensation of the men’s finals and secured a gold medal for his proud nation.
Kosovo had two finalists in the last competition day of the Balkan Boxing Championships and both succeeded in the Croatian capital. Kosovo, which joined to the AIBA Family in 2012, built up a new generation and these talents turned to elite in the recent two years. Bashkim Bajoku became their first gold medallist who defeated Serbia’s Rade Joksimovic in the final of the men’s flyweight (52kg). His brother, Shpetim Bajoku continued Kosovo’s winning path and won the title of the light welterweight (64kg) after beating Albania’s returning Rexhildo Zeneli in the next final.
Albania’s Denis Nurja competed in several regional tournaments but he expected a hard battle against Croatia’s Petar Cetinic in the final of the welterweight (69kg). The Albanian started the final better but one of his strong punches reached Cetinic and Nurja delivered a classic KO triumph in Zagreb. Among the eleven finals, another contest finished with knockout, Croatia’s European Games winner Marko Milun decided his title bout quickly against Serbia’s Vladan Babic at the super heavyweight (+91kg).
Romania’s Claudia Nechita competed mostly at the women’s flyweight (51kg) or bantamweight (54kg) in the recent one decade but she moved up to the featherweight (57kg). The Romanian boxer met with Croatia’s AIBA Women’s Youth World Boxing Championships silver medallist Nikolina Cacic in the final of the Balkan Boxing Championships. The 20-year-old Croatian had the height advantage but Nechita’s aggressive style was decisive in the final.