Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov returned with a gold medal at the 72nd Strandja Memorial Tournament28 February 2021
The winners of the fifth competition day advanced to the finals at the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov is a top boxer at the men’s flyweight (52kg) but he had to do his very best against India’s Deepak Kumar in the day of the finals.
Bulgaria won five out of the thirteen weight categories in Sofia, Uzbekistan earned three gold medals in the event and became runner-up. The big powers of boxing such as Russia, Ukraine, United States, Brazil and Kazakhstan each won one title in Sofia.
All of the five women and eight men weight categories competed in the finals at the sixth day of boxing. The Strandja Memorial is Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament and has got a strong brand name therefore high number of stars competed there in the new edition. Altogether 220 boxers including 91 women athletes attended from 30 nations at the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
The following 30 nations attended in the 72nd edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament: Armenia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, host Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Georgia, Greece, India, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Morocco, Moldova, Mali, Poland, Romania, Russia, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sweden, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America and Uzbekistan.
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 Sofia to avoid any new Covid-19 cases during the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
The bout of the day
Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov claimed gold medals at the 2015 and 2017 EUBC European Boxing Championships and silver at the 2019 European Games. The Bulgarian star was not able to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games yet following his surprise loss in the preliminary stage of the European Olympic Boxing Qualifying Event. Asenov has got strong motivation to do it better this year and advanced to the finals of the Strandja Memorial Tournament. The Bulgarian boxer had a tough rival for the title, India’s Deepak Kumar who eliminated Uzbekistan’s Rio 2016 Olympic Games winner Shakhobiddin Zoirov. Asenov used his impressive footwork to find the best angles in the bout but he also received punches from closer distance. The Bulgarian was enough experienced to beat the Indian boxer in the bout of the day and defended his throne at the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
Bulgaria’s Stoyka Krasteva has done a superb decision to return to the boxing world following her silver medals at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. The former Olympian boxer was highly confident in her final against Kazakhstan’s Angelina Lukas and controlled all of the three rounds. The judges picked her as the winner of the women’s flyweight (51kg) and she claimed the host nation’s first gold medal in Sofia.
Bulgaria’s Stanimira Petrova had to box in the second final of the sixth competition day in Sofia and she enjoyed that battle. She claimed gold medal at the Jeju 2014 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships and Petrova won also European titles during her career. She eliminated Ukraine’s veteran Iulia Tsyplakova in the semi-finals of the featherweight (57kg) and continued her winning path against Russia’s Karina Tazabekova.
Brazil’s Beatriz Ferreira is the current AIBA Women’s World Champion at the women’s lightweight (60kg) who had to meet in the final of the Strandja Memorial Tournament with Finland’s Mira Potkonen. The Finnish girl used her best punches on their re-match but Ferreira had the advantage in speed to beat her in the final. Kazakhstan’s AIBA Women’s World Champion Valentina Khalzova and United States’ Naomi Graham were the further gold medallists in the female part of the event.
Bulgaria’s new hope, the ex-Cuban Javier Ibanez won the title of the featherweight (57kg) after beating Moldova’s Dorin Bucsa in the final of the Strandja Memorial Tournament, taking gold for his new nation. Russia’s Youth Olympic Games winner Ilia Popov was too strong for Armenia’s Benik Nikoghosyan in the semi-finals of the lightweight (63kg) and he continued his winning path against Moldova’s Alexandru Paraschiv in Sofia.
Ukraine’s Hamburg 2017 AIBA World Champion Oleksandr Khyzhniak waked over to the title of the men’s middleweight (75kg) following his opponent, Russia’s Pavel Sosulin was unable to box in the day of the finals. Bulgaria’s last fifth gold medal was achieved by AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist Radoslav Pantaleev at the heavyweight (91kg) while three of the Uzbek stars dominated their weight categories in Sofia.