The European Boxing Confederation is very active in 2014, and their next continental level event, the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships will be held in Zagreb, Croatia.
The Tension and the Drama
The European region competed well in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games where their men’s athletes bagged five gold medals in China.
Among their Youth Olympic Champions, Italy’s Vincenzo Arecchia and Germany’s Peter Kadiru will be in action in Zagreb, while Azerbaijan’s Rufat Huseynov, Ukraine’s Ramil Gadzhyiev and Bulgaria’s Blagoy Naydenov will miss the event as they are preparing for their first elite competitions.
Further European Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympians and medallists will be there in Zagreb, but how can they fight at a top level once again after the most important event of the year?
Ones to watch in the event
England’s 18-year-old Muhammad Ali won a valuable silver medal at the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships, and took a bronze at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympics, where he was defeated by US star Shakur Stevenson in both events.
His main rival could be Ireland’s AIBA Junior World Champion William Donoghue in Zagreb.
Hungary’s Richard Konnyu was a bronze medallist at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and will be at the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships in Zagreb.
The 18-year-old Lightweight class (60 kg) boxer missed the Krnov Youth Tournament where his teammates did well, and to concentrate on preparations for this tournament.
Italy’s Vincenzo Arecchia claimed the gold medal in Nanjing, and he is among the favourites in Zagreb as well.
His main rival will be Russia’s AIBA Junior World Champion Ivan Kozlovskiy who defeated another AIBA Junior World Champion Ilya Kulikov in the final of their Youth National Championships in May.
With the absence of Bulgaria’s Nanjing winner and AIBA Youth World Champion Blagoy Naydenov, Russia’s Islam Tekeyev is the favourite of the Light Heavyweight class (81 kg).
Germany’s lone qualified athlete for the Nanjing Peter Kadiru won the weight class in August, and he has got a good chance to repeat that performance in Zagreb where he may have to defeat Russia’s Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games bronze medallist Marat Kerimkhanov for the gold medal.
The host nation of the event
The Croatian youth national team have achieved the best ever results of the country this year, winning three silver medals in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia and two further medals in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games.
Their athletes will be fighting on home soil which will give them extra motivation to be crowned champion in Zagreb.
Luka Prtenjaca secured silver in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia, and Luka Plantic also claimed a valuable silver medal in the AIBA Youth World Boxing Championships in Sofia, and he is one of the main gold medal contenders of the Middleweight class (75 kg).
Toni Filipi advanced to the final of the AIBA Youth World Championships in Sofia and he was able to repeat the same performance in the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games as well.
Besides their previous medallists, their current Super Heavyweight class (+91 kg) boxer Miljan Lakovic is also among the new hopes of Croatia.
Fact/Stat of the event
Altogether 232 athletes from 40 European nations have registered to take part in the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships in Zagreb.
Joining the host Croatian team, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine will be competing in the championships with full squads.
Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Germany, Ireland will be sending nine athletes while Bosnia & Herzegovina, England, and Italy will be there with eight boxers.
The French team contains only three boxers, but all of them are among the medal contenders of their weight classes.
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, F.Y.R. of Macedonia, Kosovo, Netherlands and Slovenia will also be there in the championships.
F.Y.R. of Macedonia registered only one boxer for the championships but this will be their first appearance in this youth continental level since 2007.
The Lightweight class (60 kg) is the most popular categories where the number of boxers will be 29.
History of the event
The first edition of the continental championships for the under-20 age group was held in Miskolc, Hungary in 1970 when the Soviet Union and the host nation was able to win five gold medals.
In the eighth edition of the championships the age limit was reduced to 19 in the event in Tampere, Finland.
Croatia hosted the event in the port of Rijeka in 1999 where their current head coach Mr. Marijo Sivolija achieved a silver medal.
Among the current AIBA Youth World Champions, Misha Aloian of Russia won the gold in the championships in Sombor, Serbia in 2007.
Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Hungary and Ireland were the most successful nations in the last edition of the EUBC European Youth Continental Championships in Rotterdam.