One of Europe’s traditionally most prestigeous boxing events, the Bocskai Memorial Tournament has kicked off in Debrecen, Hungary. Two of the countries top boxers will go head to head in one of the most interestering rivalries in AIBA Open Boxing (AOB). We take a glimpse at what the boxing world can expect.

Fast Facts:
What: Bocskai Memorial Tournament
Where: Debrecen, Hungary
When: Feburary 5-8th

The Tension and the Drama
Hungary, as the host nation of the tournament has claimed three gold medals in the last edition of the event. This was in spite of the presense of strong European and Asian rivals. Can they repeat their performance this week against the world’s top boxing nations in the Gabor Olah Sports Hall?

Elsewhere the country’s top two elite athletes are both unfortunately in the same weight category following European Champion Balazs Bacskai’s decision to move up to Middleweight (75kg). The country’s former number one in the category was AIBA World Boxing Championships quarter-finalist Zoltan Harcsa. Bacskai defeated his younger teammate at the Hungarian National Championships in their first head to head battle in December. The rivalry between Bacskai and Harcsa will continue in this week. The biggest question is who will be representing Hungary in international events at Middleweight for the rest of 2014?

Ones to watch
Uzbekistan will be sending their young team and among them AIBA World Boxing Championships bronze medallist and defending Asian Champion Oybek Mamazulunov is one to keep an eye on in Debrecen. His main rivals will be Kazakhstan’s multiple international tournament winner Nurdaulet Zharmanov, AIBA Team’s London 2012 Olympian Sumit Sangwan and Hungary’s EUBC European Youth Championships silver medallist Adam Hamori in the Light Heavyweight (81kg) category.

AIBA Team’s Shiva Thapa the 2013 ASBC Asian Continental Championships gold medallist is among the top athletes present at Bantamweight (56kg). He will need to be at his best however against Uzbekistan’s AIBA Youth World Championships silver medallist Murodjon Akhmadaliyev, Kazakhstan’s newly crowned National Champion Yerzhan Ordabayev and Russian U22 National Champion Nikolay Arnautov.

Fact of the tournament
A record number of one hundred fourty seven athletes have registered to take part in the tournament this year, where twenty one nations from three continents are expected to fight for the medals. The participating nations will be the following: AIBA Team, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Uzbekistan.

History of the event
This will be the 58th edition of the Bocskai Memorial Tournament which was added to the official boxing calendar for the very first time in 1957. Hungary’s two AIBA World Champions Istvan Kovacs and Zsolt Erdei both won the Bocskai Memorial Tournament in past years.

The Hungarian Boxing Association decided to raise the level of the event in 2009 and invited the top nations of the world’s boxing life such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Cuba, Azerbaijan and China. Consequently the Bocskai Memorial Tournament became one of the highest standard events in the European continent and its evidence that among the ten male London 2012 Olympic Champions five competed in the event in the last four years.