The fifth edition of the Africa Cup for elite men and women boxers was held in East London, South Africa over the weekend.
Algeria are regarded as the best boxing nation in Africa, and the Algerians topped the team rankings in the event.
More than one hundred boxers fought for the medals in the continental level event, while many of the participating nations used the competition as preparation for the Commonwealth Games which are set to be held in Glasgow next month.
Athlete of the tournament
Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi first became involved in the national squad in 2009, and qualified for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
His true breakthrough at international level came at the last edition of the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan where he bagged a silver medal.
Flissi’s podium place was Africa’s first medal in an AIBA World Boxing Championships since 2005, when Egypt’s Mohamed Abdelmaghoud Hikal took bronze in Mianyang.
The 23-year-old boxer competed at the Flyweight class (52 kg) at the Africa Cup in East London, where his biggest rival was Morocco’s London 2012 Olympian Abdelali Daraa who had also moved up from the Light Flyweight class (49 kg).
Flissi defeated his main rival in the semi-final, and following that win, the North African star stopped Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhoto in the final of the category, and asserted his reputation as one of the best boxers in Africa.
Teams of the tournament
The Algerians claimed five gold medals in the fifth edition of the Africa Cup, where besides Mohamed Flissi’s gold, two-time Olympian and Mediterranean Games winner Abdelkader Chadi (64 kg), titleholder Sofiane Tabi (69 kg), Africa Cup defending champion Hichem Kalaouar (81 kg) and London 2012 Olympian Chouaib Bouloudinat (91 kg) also reached the top of the podium.
The South Africans claimed four gold medals on home soil, which resulted in their best continental performance since the 1994 African Continental Championships which was held in Johannesburg.
Their new Light Flyweight class (49 kg) hope Sibusiso Bandla, London 2012 Olympian Ayabonga Sonjica (56 kg), titleholder Siphiwe Lusizi (75 kg) and All Africa Games bronze medallist Paul Schaffer (+91 kg) all won their weight classes to the delight of the home fans.
Surprise of the tournament
Seychelles’ London 2012 Olympian and African Youth Games silver medallist Andrique Allisop is only 21, but his skills have significantly developed in 2014.
Allisop is the Seychelles top boxer, and defeated Algeria’s Djoudi Ziani, Cameroon’s Patrick Tleumeni, and Morocco’s experienced Driss Khallouk in the semi-final of the Lightweight class (60 kg).
Namibia’s Lazarus Shaningwa was his opponent in the gold medal bout, but Allisop proved to be too strong in their final.
Allisop will be hoping to add to his two international wins in 2014, with a medal in the upcoming Commonwealth Games.
Ones to watch in the future
Tunisia’s AIBA Women’s World Championships bronze medallist Rim Jouini proved she is back to her best with her excellent performance in the African Cup, as she triumphed over Algeria’s Nawel Halou in the final of the Featherweight class (57 kg).
Morocco’s Nations Women’s Cup winner Hasna Lachgar dominated her final over Algeria’s Houria Triki, which impressed many onlookers.
Fact/stat of the tournament
Altogether, 19 women and 85 men fought for the medals which is record for the African Cup.
Among the developing African boxing nations, Angola, Benin, Lesotho and Senegal competed in the 5th Africa Cup in East London.
Gold medal winners at the Africa Cup
Women’s 51 kg: Zohra Ez-Zahraoui, Morocco
Women’s 57 kg: Rim Jouini, Tunisia
Women’s 60 kg: Hasna Lachgar, Morocco
Women’s 75 kg: Khadija Mardi, Morocco
Men’s 49 kg: Sibusiso Bandla, South Africa
Men’s 52 kg: Mohamed Flissi, Algeria
Men’s 56 kg: Ayabonga Sonjica, South Africa
Men’s 60 kg: Andrique Allisop, Seychelles
Men’s 64 kg: Abdelkader Chadi, Algeria
Men’s 69 kg: Sofiane Tabi, Algeria
Men’s 75 kg: Siphiwe Lusizi, South Africa
Men’s 81 kg: Hichem Kalaouar, Algeria
Men’s 91 kg: Chouaib Bouloudinat, Algeria
Men’s +91 kg: Paul Schaffer, South Africa