The Asenov brothers dominated their quarter-finals at the Strandja Memorial Tournament01 February 2020
The quarter-finals were held at the 71st edition of the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria. Following the three daily sessions, only two were scheduled in the third day of boxing in Sofia. The Asenov brothers, two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel and Boyan both dominated their contests on Day3.
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 71stedition 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
Poland’s Karolina Koszewska is the defending European Games champion at the women’s welterweight (69kg) but she had a tough fight against Italy’s Sabrina Er-Raqioui who joined to the elite age group this January. The Polish boxer is 19-year-older than her Italian rival but their fight delivered a narrow difference between them. Er-Raqioui doesn’t have the experiences yet but she had a brave attempt to beat Koszewska in their meeting which was one of the closest ones on Day3. The final verdict was split decision in the favour of Koszewska who advanced to the last four but the young Italian proved her talent.
The surprise of the day
France’s Emilie Sonvico was involved to the national elite team in 2018 and she has less than 50 bouts during her career. The French welterweight (69kg) boxer had a technician rival Ukraine’s Maria Badulina-Bova who claimed gold and silver medals at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships during her career. Sonvico was brave in the bout and her strategy worked better which she combined with aggressive attacks. The French boxer advanced to the last four and remained her chance alive to get the title in Sofia.
Moldova’s Iulia Coroli moved down to the flyweight (51kg) due the chance to get a spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Following her change, she looked still enough strong to control her fight against a talented opponent, Italy’s Olena Savchuk who joined to the national team in 2019. The Moldovan boxer was quicker in the exchanges in the first round and she landed the better punches. Savchuk turned up also the heat and she worked better in the third round but her efforts were not enough to turn back their fight.
Ireland’s Kellie Harrington was AIBA Women’s World Champion in 2018 and returned from her serious injury in the Olympic year. The experienced Irish lightweight (60kg) boxer is enjoying her comeback to the world of the rings and she felt the fighting distance well in her quarter-final against Ukraine’s Hanna Okhrey. The Irish No.1 controlled her fight and will be meeting in the last four with Bulgaria’s veteran Denitsa Eliseeva. In another exciting bout at the lightweight (60kg) Finland’s European Games winner Mira Potkonen eliminated Italy’s 2016 AIBA Women’s World Champion Alessia Mesiano on Day3.
Bulgaria’s Melis Yonuzova claimed gold medals in the U22 and in the Elite European Championships in the same year in 2018. The Bulgarian boxer is focusing now to the Olympic Games and returned to the welterweight (69kg). She had to meet with another promising European female boxer Norway’s Madeleine Angelsen who worked also hard in their spectacular contest. Yonuzova worked well through the nine minutes of fight and she was slightly better in the exchanges delighting the home crowd.
Bulgaria’s two-time EUBC European Champion Daniel Asenov started his first round against Kosovo’s Bashkim Bajoku in different rhythm. The Bulgarian flyweight (52kg) star landed high number of clear punches in the first round but the younger Kosovan talent survived the most dangerous periods in the opening minutes. The best Bulgarian male boxer was quicker than his opponent and launched dozens of attacks which reached the target. Asenov’s lethal punches arrived in the second round and the referee confirmed his RSC victory.
Daniel’s younger brother Boyan also proved tough developments in the recent two years and his skills now enough to beat strong European opponents. The 20-year-old Bulgarian controlled all of the rounds against Kosovo’s Leutrim Rexhepi who claimed medals in smaller international events in 2019. Boyan Asenov dictated the tempo and he caught his Kosovan opponent with strong punches already in the first round. The referee counted Rexhepi in the second therefore Asenov’s final success was not a question on Day3.
Bulgaria’s Blagoy Naydenov was AIBA Youth World Champion and Youth Olympic Games winner in 2014 and after a few years of break he returned to the national team. The 23-year-old Bulgarian received a few hooks in the first round from Ukraine’s Maksym Kots in a hectic light heavyweight (81kg) bout. The Bulgarian boxer attacked more from the second round and his efforts were enough to turn back their difficult fight. Naydenov will be meeting in the semi-final with Sweden’s Liridon Nuha who eliminated Bulgaria’s Georgi Svechev.
Ukraine’s Tsotne Rogava is the new National Champion at the super heavyweight (+91kg) who switched from other martial arts to boxing. The Georgian-descent Ukrainian was not enough shape in the first round against Romania’s Daniel Burciu but he increased the tempo in the second. Rogava landed a seriously heavy punch and the referee stopped their bout in the second period which means the Ukrainian will be boxing in the semi-final with Italy’s two-time AIBA World Champion veteran Clemente Russo.