Ukraine’s Sydorenko twin brothers both won the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships where Lezin, Erdei and Paliani defended their thrones10 August 2020
The 33rd edition of the European Boxing Championships was held in Tampere, Finland where only the qualified boxers had the right to compete for the medals. Tampere hosted the 1993 AIBA World Boxing Championships and after seven years of that global event, the city welcomed the boxers from the European continent. Ukraine’s Sydorenko twin brothers both earned gold medals in Tampere where Lezin, Erdei and Paliani defended their thrones.
The 32nd Minsk edition was the first to where all of the participating boxers had to qualified through international tournaments before the start. The same system was held in the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships, only the best 16-16 boxers could attend in the event following the qualification tournaments.
Tampere hosted the 1981 European Boxing Championships and the city was waiting for 19 years to arrange another continental event. The first competition day of the 2000 European Boxing Championships was May 13 in Tampere while the finals were held on May 21. There was not any rest day in the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships.
Due to the qualification system there were not any weight classes where two rounds of preliminaries were scheduled in Tampere. The total number of the boxers was 175 in the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships where the participants could compete in 12 weight classes as in the previous editions. Some of the Olympian boxers were not in top shape in Tampere as for them the main event of the year was the Sydney Olympic Games.
The following 34 nations attended in the 2000 European Boxing Championships in Tampere: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Estonia, Finland, France, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, Wales and Yugoslavia.
Russia, Turkey and Ukraine qualified maximum number of 12 boxers to the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships. France and Hungary both had 11 athletes in the event, while Germany and Romania could send 10 boxers to Tampere following the qualification tournaments.
The Russians won four gold medals at the Budapest 1997 AIBA World Boxing Championships, at the Minsk 1998 European Boxing Championships and also in Tampere. The Turkish team claimed three gold medals at the very first time in a European Boxing Championships and became runner-up in the medal table. The Ukrainians took two titles in the 2000 European Boxing Championships and ranked third in the team standings.
Germany, Hungary and France won the remaining 10th, 11th and 12th titles in Tampere where the host Finnish team achieved two bronze medals. Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy, Armenia, Belarus, Lithuania, Yugoslavia, Azerbaijan and Sweden achieved also at least one medal in Tampere. The Croatians exceeded all expectations with their two silver medals at the 2000 European Boxing Championships.
Ukraine’s Valeriy Sydorenko eliminated Hungary’s veteran Pal Lakatos in the semi-final of the light flyweight (48kg) and defeated the defending champion Sergey Kazakov of Russia in the final. His twin brother Volodymyr Sydorenko was confident as a titleholder at the flyweight (51kg) and triumphed over Romania’s Bogdan Dobrescu in the final of the Tampere 2000 European Boxing Championships taking his second gold after 1998.
Agassi Agaguloglu was born in Azerbaijan but he switched to Turkey in the 1990s to represent his new nation. The 20-year-old Turkish boxer reached his career highlight in Tampere where he had four tough fights against such favourites as Armenia’s Aram Ramazyan and Russia’s 1993 European Champion Raimkul Malakhbekov. The final verdict was 6:4 to the younger Turkish boxer who claimed gold in Tampere.
Ramazi Paliani represented the Unified Team, Georgia and Russia before switching to Turkey and won titles for the country. He won the 1996 and the 1998 editions of the European Boxing Championships in Vejle and in Minsk. The 27-year-old Paliani was the most experienced boxer at the featherweight (57kg) who controlled his final over Bulgaria’s teenager Boris Georgiev and bagged his third European title.
Russia’s AIBA World Champion Aleksandr Maletin had a surprise loss in the first preliminary round of the 1998 European Boxing Championships but he was more focused in the next Tampere edition. He has done revenge to Romania’s Gheorghe Lungu due to his previous loss and defeated also Croatia’s 21-year-old Filip Palic in the final of the lightweight (60kg). His teammate Aleksandr Leonov claimed Russia’s second gold medal in Tampere following his triumphs over Turkey’s Nurhan Suleymanoglu and Bulgaria’s Dimitar Stilianov.
Russia’s Olympic Games winner and AIBA World Champion Oleg Saitov was the main favourite for the gold medal at the welterweight (67kg) in Tampere but lost his first preliminary fight when he met with Hungary’s Mihaly Kotai. The Hungarian marched to the semi-finals following his surprise triumph but he was defeated by Ukraine’s Valeriy Brazhnik in the last four. Turkey’s Bülent Ülüsoy achieved the title of the weight class in Tampere after beating the tough Ukrainian winning the final by accepted scores.
Germany’s 21-year-old Adnan Catic defeated the favourites of the light middleweight (71kg) such as Hungary’s Karoly Balzsay, Bulgaria’s Dmitri Usagin and Russia’s Andrey Mishin in Tampere. The young German boxer had a strong defence and punctual counter-attacks in the final against the Russian and won his first European title. Catic became famous under the name of Felix Sturm and became professional world champion later.
Budapest 1997 AIBA World Champion Zsolt Erdei of Hungary earned his next gold medal at the Minsk 1998 European Boxing Championships. The 26-year-old Hungarian was named as the top favourite of the middleweight (75kg) in Tampere where he began his campaign with two RSC successes over Netherlands’ Dimitri Serdjoek and Yugoslavia’s Ivan Ribac. Erdei was too strong for Ukraine’s Oleksandr Zubrikhin and Croatia’s Stjepan Bozic in his final matches which meant the tough Hungarian defended his European title.
Russia’s Aleksandr Lebziak won the title of the AIBA Junior World Boxing Championships already in 1987 and he reached several top elite results from 1990. The Russian light heavyweight (81kg) boxer was AIBA World Champion and titleholder also at the European Boxing Championships. Lebziak was not in his best shape in Tampere due to his full focus on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, but his performance was enough to take his second European title after beating Romania’s Claudiu Rasco in the final.
France’s Jackson Chanet was a small boxer at the heavyweight (91kg) but his energetic style impressed the judges in Tampere. The 22-year-old French caused several surprises in the event and defeated also Russia’s Sultanakhmed Ibragimov in the final. The next Russian finalist Aleksey Lezin delivered their fourth gold medal in Tampere where he was slightly better than Italy’s Paolo Vidoz. The 27-year-old Russian super heavyweight (+91kg) boxer bagged his third-in-a-row European title after Vejle and Minsk.
List of the winners in the 2000 European Boxing Championships
- Light flyweight (48kg): Valeriy Sydorenko, Ukraine
- Flyweight (51kg): Volodymyr Sydorenko, Ukraine
- Bantamweight (54kg): Agassi Agaguloglu, Turkey
- Featherweight (57kg): Ramazi Paliani, Turkey
- Lightweight (60kg): Aleksandr Maletin, Russia
- Light welterweight (63.5kg): Aleksandr Leonov, Russia
- Welterweight (67kg): Bülent Ülüsoy, Turkey
- Light middleweight (71kg): Adnan Catic, Germany
- Middleweight (75kg): Zsolt Erdei, Hungary
- Light heavyweight (81kg): Aleksandr Lebziak, Russia
- Heavyweight (91kg): Jackson Chanet, France
- Super Heavyweight (+91kg): Aleksey Lezin, Russia